Women, girls, men, and boys took to the streets in hundreds of cities across the US (and the globe) today for the Women’s March 2018, dubbed the “Power to the Polls” in some cases, which also served as an opening rally for a national voter registration campaign, the New York Times reports.
In Annapolis, Maryland, as one example, several hundred protesters brought picket signs to Lawyer’s Mall and stood under a statue of Thurgood Marshall and the words “Equal Justice Under Law.” A voter registration table was set up beside that statue on the mall, which is located right in front of the steps of the Maryland State House.
Invited speakers took turns addressing the crowd, each addressing a cause that was slightly different but unified under common themes of inclusion, diversity, strength, and standing up for women, children, homosexuals, Muslims, indigenous people, abused women, those who work with misogynists, and victims of bullying.
Many showed up wearing pink “pussy” hats, which became fashionable about a year ago, following the election of President Donald Trump, who has been accused of saying he would grab women by that part of their body and assault them.
A common thread among the speakers suggested that showing up for a protest isn’t enough. “Just being loud and camping out doesn’t work,” Vicky Bruce, editor of the Arundel Patriot newspaper, told the crowd. “We need to run candidates for office.”
Similar sentiments are expressed by reporter Laurel Westphal, a student at Metea Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois, who wrote an op-ed in the student newspaper there entitled “Activism in Hollywood has become lazy,” referring to the Golden Globe ceremony. “If you’re going to support something, support it,” she writes in Metea Media:
If you want to claim yourself an activist, you have to participate in change for it to stick around. Wearing a color will not change the world, but if that’s all you can do, wear that color. Try to learn more, go to marches, donate money to causes that matter to you, seek the truth in all cases. …
When big Hollywood stars use feigned activism as a front for remaining neutral with the public, that’s when any real progress starts to recede, when the problem itself is pretending it doesn’t exist.
There were big marches in Chicago, too, and not just this weekend. The North Star News reports from Niles North High School that last weekend’s March for Life brought protests to the streets of the city. Their message was different from some carried by women this weekend, but it deserves a voice as well. From Federal Plaza in Chicago’s Loop they loudly proclaimed “that the sanctity of the life of the fetus overrides the mother’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy,” according to Bella Levavi’s report in that student newspaper.
Unlike that narrowly focused issue, the Women’s March brought a whole litany of causes to the streets of Annapolis this weekend. Climate change probably came in at the top of the list: “Every progressive has two issues,” said Jody Peltason of Maryland Leads on Climate, “and those are: her own and climate change.”
Other issues are frankly too numerous to list, as listing would not do them justice. But “inaction is not an option,” these women heard, as did the men who support them—which is just about all men, based on this crowd. Most of them cheered when asked if one man in particular—Mr Trump—was a common enemy of equality. But some speakers reiterated that a common enemy, even if that enemy is the president, can’t provide sufficient impetus for a movement.
Speakers made the message clear: Any hope of continuing the movement to the polls in this midterm year and beyond will have to come from perseverence and, indeed, love.
“In the face of injustice, it is your duty to have more love in your heart,” said a 19-year-old Muslim speaker, who also told the crowd the bullying she has experienced since she was 10 doesn’t hold a candle to the president telling the world that Islam hates Americans, “because love is the essence of our faith, and love is the essence of justice.”