TALK’n TROUBLE: March on!

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Consider for a moment the serendipity of celebrating Women’s History Month in MARCH. Women have so often exercised their considerable collective power by marching for change. Marching for basic civil rights, for a say in their governance, for autonomy over their bodies, for fairness and equity. None of these historical efforts have been wasted. Progress has been made, but history has a way of repeating itself. Once thought to be overcome, injustices can reemerge if we take our gains for granted. Every generation has to take its turn to March and make a history of its own.

In 1789 women stormed a hotel in Paris and marched on Versailles to make demands of King Louis XVI. They were suffering disproportionately in a devastating economic crisis. Basics like bread were unaffordable! Their marching contributed to the eventual success of the French Revolution that finally toppled the monarchy. The recent global health crisis hit women hardest and brought about similar hardships. March on!

Photo by Paul Thompson/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

When “women’s history” is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is often the well-known fight in the US for voting rights. You’ve seen the old photos showing multitudes of women parading through city streets in defiant white dresses carrying signs and banners. Courageously, they faced hostile crowds and suffered abuse and arrests. They were disciplined and feminine; they were orderly yet rebellious. They were unyielding.”

Be reminded that African American women didn’t get the right to vote until 1965, a full 45 years after the 19th amendment was ratified. Our voting rights are once again being challenged across the country today. TroubleMakers, March on!

 

It was mainly a crowd of women who marched in dramatic silence through New York City in 1917 to protest the police treatment of blacks during riots in East St. Louis. They condemned the violence that had resulted in the deaths of at least 39 African Americans and the destruction of hundreds of homes and businesses. (Black Lives Mattered 105 years ago) March on!

Silent Parade
Women's demonstration for bread and peace, Petrograd, Russia

 

That same year, it was a women’s march sparked the Russian revolution. Believe it or not, it was an International Women’s Day demonstration in Petrograd (now known as St. Petersburg) that ultimately led to the overthrow of the Russian tzar. Seems timely, no? March on! 

In the 1960s and into the ‘70s, American women organized and spoke out about injustices new and old. They marched for peace, against the war in Vietnam, and denounced women’s objectification in the 1968 Miss America Pageant.

On the 50th anniversary of the 19th amendment, 10,000 women marched on Fifth Avenue demanding passage of the equal rights amendment, unrestricted abortion, free childcare for working mothers, and equal education and employment.  

“The Women’s March” in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017, was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. It was also a worldwide protest with millions calling out the threat that political circumstances in the US represented to reproductive, civil, and human rights. 

ALL these issues still confront us today. Rights are consistently threatened, gains toward equity are challenged. TroubleMakers MARCH on.

Sea of Pink - Washington D.C. 2017

Descendants of those who marched before us keep fighting for justice and human dignity. In addition to the ongoing struggles to hold on to those hard-won voting and reproductive rights, we March – literally and figuratively – for police reform, domestic violence awareness, workers’ rights, gender equity, and to save our planet from being exploited to death. Some issues hit closer to home than others. 

International data gathered by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security  shows that the global advance of women’s status has slowed and disparities have widened across countries.” Comparable data drawn from inside the US shows some states have gender disparities similar to those of far less prosperous, low-income, and low-equity nations. The states in the Southeast rank worst, and states in the Northeast rank best.

Data can’t prove whether it’s poor protections and treatment of women that lead to worse health, education, and economic outcomes, or if poverty and lack of access to healthcare and education cause women to be treated poorly. But, the findings clearly demonstrate the need for more focused geographic efforts on issues of gender equity. 

For this March, here are some ideas for hyper-local actions we can all take on. The nonprofit, She Should Run advocates increased civic participation for all women. Beyond donating anonymously or being a once-a-year Thanksgiving volunteer, here are six ways they say you can have an impact in your community:

  • Be a Good Neighbor – Knowing the people around you will help you gain empathy.
  • Use Your Voice – Attend town meetings and offer your opinions.
  • Give Your Time – Volunteer on your own or partner with an organization.
  • Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – Shop local to support female, black and brown-owned businesses.
  • Paint the town green – Join a food co-op; participate in or plant a community garden.
  • Get involved in local government – Join your homeowners’ association and attend a city meeting.

So, TroubleMakers, think global, “MARCH” local! There’s work to be done in every community and at every policy-making level to ensure we’re marching forward, not losing ground in the quest for equity and justice. Here’s to TroubleMakers old and new – March on!

Stay tuned for more insights and inspiration.

Share the cool stuff you learn here with the TroubleMakers you know and love.

SPEAK UP – SPEAK OUT.  THIS REALLY MATTERS.

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