What an honor it was to march alongside my peers this past Saturday. For those of you not knowing the meaning behind this march, it originated from a large platform of powerhouse activists: Alicia Garza, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, the author and transgender rights advocate Janet Mock, and Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women. The platform calls for a broad range of reforms to address not only gender inequity but also racial and economic inequality. It supports paid family leave; anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans; access to affordable reproductive health care, including contraception and abortion; an end to the use of military-style weapons and tactics by the police in minority communities; a living minimum wage; immigration reform, with a path to citizenship; and protection of the environment and public lands.
The march was a complete success: with police estimating there were about 100,000 in just Saint Paul, an estimated 3.2 million Americans took to the streets for Women’s March protests in totality including all seven continents, and the Women’s March in Washington had three times more people than Donald Trump’s inauguration. But friends (especially my white friends), this is not enough, we have work to do. The fight has just begun.
We got their attention and we need to stay involved. How do we keep the spirit alive? I have included links below for organizations to help stay politically involved, courtesy of Glamour.
1. 10 Actions/100 Days: Organized by the same people who put together the Women’s March, 10 Actions/100 Days offers step-by-step instructions for participating. First: writing a postcard to your senator about an issue you care about. They even provide the postcard. Every 10 days, a new action will be unveiled, and you’ll have another chance to make your voice heard.
2. Call your legislators—and don’t stop: Calling your representative works. No matter how much you hate making phone calls, it’s the most effective way to register your opinion. Groups like Daily Action will provide you with a specific issue of importance in your district (as well as a script and a direct connection to your legislator’s office), but there’s no need to wait for the next threat to the Affordable Care Act.
3. Look ahead to 2018: Right now, Republicans control the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, as well as a majority of state governments. If you were disappointed by the outcome of the 2016 election, the next election is only two years away, and it’s going to be a tough one. You can sign up at places like Swing Left to find out about close House races in your area. And don’t ignore local elections, which are notorious for low voter turnout.
4. Run for Office: Yes, it’s a big one, but if not us, then who? Women are wildly underrepresented at all levels of government, and they face a unique set of challenges when they do get involved. But things won’t get better unless we actually put ourselves out there and get our names on ballots. Groups like She Should Run support women candidates with trainings, logistical help, and a leadership incubator.
5. Get Local: In the days leading up to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., a note circulated asking anyone coming to the Women’s March to hang onto the metro cards they purchased. It asked that instead of throwing them away—the cards cost $2—that people mail them to a local organization called Martha’s Table. The group helps low-income families get better food, education services, and essentials like clothes. Even if you don’t live in a city with a massive public transit system, there are opportunities to help. Collect food for a local food pantry, participate in a winter coat drive, donate books to a local library. The benefit will be more immediate and significant than anything even the best protest sign could communicate.
6. Keep Marching: If Saturday’s events left your feet tingling and chants stuck in your head, you don’t have to wait long to get out again. MoveOn and several progressive groups are holding rallies on Tuesday, January 24 to protest President Trump’s cabinet picks. You can find out where Stop the #SwampCabinet protests are being held here.
Keep up the good fight, everyone. You all are doing wonderfully.