Did you catch the women’s march last Saturday? Perhaps participate in it? Or see the television coverage or online?
Such extraordinary numbers for a grassroots event! An estimated 1 in 100 Americans marched, and though the numbers are difficult to tally, an estimated 4 million worldwide.
That’s a lot of women. And men.
And talk about inauspicious roots. Teresa Shook, a retired grandmother, told a local TV station, "I went to bed the night of the election just discouraged and woke up feeling worse the next day thinking, 'How could this be?' I was just sad and dumbfounded.”
She decided to do something about it.
On FB, she invited 40 of her friends to a March on Washington. By the next morning, 10,000 additional names had joined up.
From this grew the planning for the march on Washington. And then, worldwide sister marches sprung up of their own.
The very definition of grass roots.
Because apparently, one woman can change the world.
And my, what an event it was. They expected 20,000, but as the weeks beforehand brought it closer, we knew it would be larger than that.
Because although not well-publicized, every time I mentioned it to someone, the response came: “Yes, I know about it. We’re going!”
And this from women of all ages, socio-economic groups, and ethnic bents.
So when we arrived to find the lawn of the Capitol building filled with laughing women and girls (and many men and boys!), with more streaming through the entrance in vast numbers, we were not surprised.
We marched with 50,000 of our Texas sisters and brothers.
Ah, such beautiful energy! From babies all the way to the marvelous crones among us, the spirit of camaraderie, of joining in community for a much higher purpose, wafted over us all.
And the posters! How fabulous. My favorite being held by a sparkling lady who was 90 if she was a day, opens this blog.
But rather, a march for women’s rights—sexual and work-place related. The rights of minorities, protection of our environment, people with disabilities and different faiths.
It was a march for unity.
And unified we were!
Women watch out for other women. Even though we were packed like the proverbial sardines for two hours before we took the first parade-route step (they just hadn’t planned for that many!), we did it singing, dancing, laughing, making sure those around us were okay.
It took that long for us to get going because they had to expand the parade route. Right then.
Women, when mobilized, stand up in enormous numbers.
Our belief is that women’s rights are human rights, and we voice this with our chants, our signs, our hats, our feet.
At least half of this country believes returning to the 1950s is not a good idea.
But then, now home and energized, what do we do with all of the momentum?
The official march website is launching a campaign to take 10 actions in the next 100 days.
It’s very simple, and they make it easy to participate.
My first action will be in the mail this week J
Are your beliefs different from mine? No problem! Your voice needs to be heard as well.
Only by opening up a real dialogue—one not based on sound bites and partisan rhetoric—can we ever hope to begin bridging the chasm between us.
As citizens of these United States, we all need to be involved.
What a joy as well to meet all of the next generation of committed, involved women! Made hope surge in my heart.
One vibrant young woman we met, Jana Lynne Sanchez, already works in our county to organize and promote these values. When I mentioned she’d undertaken quite a big mountain to climb (ultra-conservative is an understatement here), she responded:
“We have to start somewhere.”
I’ll be helping her as well.
Nothing can stop a movement of vivacious, committed women. Literally nothing.
Teresa Shook provides the most wonderful counter to the argument that what you do doesn’t matter.
She just did.
What will you be doing to bring about the change you seek?
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.