Women’s March reflections from Emili Abdel-Ghany and Michelle Snyder

 

 From Emili Abdel-Ghany:

 

I almost didn’t attend the march. This was the first political event I’d been to with family. I’m the “activist” in the family but lately I’ve been disconnected. It’s just all so out of hand. I’ve done little things here and there but attending rallies has been a struggle (even though I’ve made it out to more than most). My big sister had a sign making party with her friend and we planned to meet my other sister and some extended family. One of the signs was an empty frame that says “feminist”. I made it my mission to get as many men to pose with the sign as possible! We had a lot of takers. 

 

My initial observations: 
There is a rally at every metro stop along the Expo line because this train is so full! It feels more like a parade or a festival (food trucks, professional stages). Why is no one chanting? Where are all the organizations/community groups (banners)? Where are the police (I didn’t see a single one). This is the weirdest march I’ve ever been to. It feels really good to be with my family!  This is the largest march I’ve ever been to.

 

Chants I decided to lead: “No Trump! No KKK ! No Fascist USA!”, “My Body My Choice, Her Body Her Choice”. 

 

I also had a stronger response on social media than I usually do, which just goes to show how popular this march was among so many people! I really thought it was necessary that they had majority women of color (WOC) speaking. I heard Kerre Washington and Laverne Cox speak. It was incredibly important that Laverne spoke as she is a very influential Trans Woman of Color. The women’s movement for rights has largely been dominated by white cisgendered women (despite the work that womxn of color and trans women put into the movement for gender equity). This march largely centralized around the cisgendered female anatomy. I was supporting this but definitely conflicted! I wondered, how can we have pride in cisgendered “female” anatomy without the definition of a woman needing to include a specific anatomy? (64 people “liked” to this status: “How can we have vagina pride without vagina essentialism?”)  Meaning how can we raise up the voices of the most marginalized and targeted (trans womxn of color, trans womxn, women of color, immigrant womxn) but still have pride in a cisgendered female body? I am still not sure of the answer here! If you were to organize a community of people in support of women’s rights and against your current president, how would you do it? What groups of people do you believe are most targeted by our current society and how can we empower them? 

 

A note on the signs: many of the signs reclaim some of the phrases that the current president has used to degrade and objectify women. The reclamation of these words and phrases is meant to empower instead of disempower. 

 

From Michelle Snyder:

 

This wasn't just a march for women, it was a march for humanity and all the living things that inhabit this earth. It warmed my heart to see these "women's issues" had persuaded men and young boys to care, and to publicly show that they were on board too. These issues we usually call “women’s issues” affect everyone and should not be viewed as one-dimensional. As I walked shoulder to shoulder with 750,000 other Angelenos, I knew I wasn't alone.  

 

I was also delighted to run into Jasper, who was shouting and jumping atop a large garbage bin! I hope this march ignites a sustained campaign of protest in a polarized America. I attended the women's march because I wanted to be surrounded by more people on my side than those who are against me...all we have is each other.  

 

"We have a real role in how our own collective lives, our nation, and our world and society turn out. Seizing those opportunities is important, and disasters are sometimes one of those opportunities." - Rebecca Solnit, feminist, author, activist and historian.

 

 

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