Where do we go from here?
How do we realistically implement the rights contained in the published march principles?
“Without a clear path from march to power, the protest is destined to be an ineffective feel good spectacle adorned with pink pussy hats.” – Micah White, The Guardian
Maybe it’s not what you want to hear while you’re riding the high of being part of “herstory” or sharing stories of the loving energy you experienced during one of the marches last weekend, but it’s a necessary thought to address. With a successful march for solidarity behind us, it would be easy for many feel they’ve paid their dues, done their part, and wipe their hands of the cause before returning to their normal lives. Unfortunately, that would defeat everything the marches accomplished.
At the same time, others may feel they are not doing enough to contribute to the movement and must remember that every little bit counts. Even the smallest change in your daily actions could have a butterfly effect. One of the easiest ways to continue the momentum is to continue the conversation. This movement has sparked conversations and opened up space for people to speak who normally aren’t heard. Share resources, ask questions, learn from others, and address your weaknesses as an advocate.
Stay Hopeful, Stay Motivated
When everything seems overwhelming and like your actions don’t matter, listen to the women who have come before you and those who stand with you today. You are not alone. Things are changing, even if you can’t see it because change happens slowly. It’s easy to feel emotionally drained with all the conversations happening in the world right now, so remember to take time for yourself and be aware of your emotional and mental wellbeing. Disengage from social media for a while, step away from the political conversations, don’t respond to ignorant remarks – don’t burn out because that won’t do anyone any good.
When you feel like diving back in, stay hopeful and stay motivated. Find pictures from the march that remind you why you participated or if you didn’t why this movement may mean something to you. Talk with friends about how their lives are effected by what’s going on in the world and support them by swapping stories of strength and courage. Follow badass feminists on social media so that every time you scroll through your feed there’s something to make you feel empowered or encouraged.
And above all else, remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
If you are privileged enough to feel like you don’t have much you need to fight for, or that there is only one issue that really affects you, then you haven’t been listening. Fighting as a feminist means fighting for all people, even if you don’t feel like you are a part of a group or it makes you uncomfortable. So yes, you should turn out at Black Lives Matter protests, marches for science, and many of the other events that are getting organized now.
Read everything, especially if it talks about life experiences you’ve been lucky to never have faced. Read things by people who think differently than you and believe in things that you might not. There are many shades of being human, and that doesn’t make a person evil or wrong.
- 16 books about systemic racism, hope in tumultuous times, and people who have changed the world.
- Black feminist books that are important for everyone.
- Learn about intersectionality and why it matters.
- Follow the news and try to read media that is not just considered left-leaning or right-leaning, whichever side you consider yourself on.
- Learn the history of the Women’s March inspiration, The Million Women March, and how movements have made a difference in the past. (Hint: It wasn’t through marches alone that anything was accomplished.)
A part of staying informed about what is happening in the world and around the country is listening to other views. This isn’t just a matter of waiting for other views to come to you. As we saw in the 2016 election, listening to only the opinions that are readily available to you can give you a very distorted view of the world. Check out the Washington Post’s Red Feed, Blue Feed article from before the 2016 election if you don’t believe us.
Immediately following the marches that took place around the world, the Women’s March on Washington released the first action from their 10 Actions for the First 100 Days plan: Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you – and how you’re going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead. Every ten days, they will release a new action and encourage those who participated in the march along with those who did not to continue the momentum and take part in these actions.
Our readers in the Boston area are encouraged to check out the organizations below.
- Boston Feminists For Liberation
- Boston Doula Project
- Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
- The Network/La Red
- Black and Pink
- SURJ Boston – Showing Up for Racial Justice
- Black Lives Matter Boston
- Black Lives Matter Cambridge
- Mass Action Against Police Brutality
- Boston Coalition for Police Accountability
Look up what other marches and organizations are involved in your area and see what they need help with. Text “Daily” to 228466 to receive daily actions if you’re in need of direction.
Run for office yourself or contact your local legislators to let them know what you think. There are many ways for you to contact your legislators without having to speak to them directly, if that is easier for you. The app Countable is one of many options to make it easy to communicate with your representatives.
Don’t stop voting, even if you feel like it won’t make a difference. The midterm elections are two years away in 2018, and historically, voting for the people you want in office at that time can make political favor swing away from the President.
Finally, if marching is not for you and you aren’t sure what you can do to make a difference, don’t feel discouraged. There are many ways to get involved, whether it’s online or by doing little things in your every day life.
Do you have other plans for staying involved? Share it with us in the comments!
This is the final post in a series about the Women’s March – why individuals attended and how they plan on continuing the movement, answering questions the inclusive women’s march raised, and next steps to keep the momentum going. Check them all out and consider contributing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with why you marched and how you plan to keep the momentum going!