On January 21, 2017, streets around the world turned pink and shook from the passionate vibration of a unified message for gender equality at the Women’s March on Washington.
Although fiery passion could be felt at the Washington D.C. march and the hundreds of other marches worldwide—673 marches to be exact—the atmosphere was one of love and unity amongst the chanting crowds, at one point quoting former first lady Michelle Obama saying, “We go high!”
Most of the leaders of the Women’s March are women from all backgrounds who built this cause from a single Facebook post demanding that women speak up. Their principles, as listed on their website, are to create a non-violent movement to emphasize that “women’s rights are human rights.”
Activists and celebrities alike contributed their voices from a more personal perspective while simultaneously making a universal connection to the cause regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, or faith. Their words stirred the crowd and revved up the aura of revolution that took to the streets and social media.
At times, there was a wave of cheering that blanketed the National Mall in seeming praise for the unity and progress. And even with the negative commentary from a few supporters of the new U.S. president and his administration—some bashing the movement on social media—that did not deter the motivation.
The message of demanding basic human rights for women and negating any discrimination regardless of faith, gender identity, and ethnic groups was clear. With the energy of this movement in mind, millions of people agreed that we cannot be a force in voice and not a force of action. Therefore, it is important that people all over the nation take that same energy back into their respective communities and implement ways to ensure basic civil rights and equality as promised to us by the Constitution.
Have no idea where to start? Here are five ways to keep the fire going and get involved in the fight for equality and protection against marginalization:
- Research and support local organizations that deal with minority and women’s issues, in addition to outreach and educational organizations that are designed to propel others forward.
- Educate yourself on local and global issues through major and smaller news outlets.
- Push for consent and self-defense classes for students of all ages to help reduce the rate of domestic violence and sexual assault. Additionally, provide resources to students on basic laws regarding sexual assault.
- Don’t allow the Women’s March to be your only movement. Join and support other causes that are affecting other large groups of people both locally and worldwide. We must acknowledge that there are blanket and specified issues that all need attention.
- Connect with your local, state and federal officials to voice your suggestions or opinions publicly, then follow up with an email or letter. This can be done on social media, at a local town hall meeting, or even at a state convention as a way to maintain open dialogue with those who have the authority to make the changes to our legislation.
The overall message of the Women’s March in Washington and all over the world was clear: “We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all, ” according to the organizers’ website. Does this message sound familiar?
How do you plan to move forward in our nation’s fight for equality? Share your thoughts below.