6 Ways To Keep The Women's March Mission Alive In Your Daily Life
More than 3 million people attended Women's Marches across the U.S., and sister marches attracted even more attendees across all seven continents. It was an enormous collective effort, but the Women's March on Washington was only a first step. Going forward, it is critical that people stay active to keep the Women's March mission alive.
There are so many ways to do this. First, however, it is important to realize that many marginalized groups have been fighting injustice forever. So, while the Women's March may have been an introduction to activism for some, it is certainly not the first time people have mobilized for their survival. Secondly, any attempts to maintain the energy generated by the Women's March must center those who are most vulnerable, and highlight a feminism that is intersectional.
That being said, there are concrete actions you can take right away to continue resisting the Trump administration and fighting for human rights, and some of them are listed below. If all the people who came out for the Women's Marches came out for a number of other causes, our collective resistance would be incredibly powerful and effective. Don't limit your participation to a single march: Keep working toward justice.
Join The 10 Actions For The First 100 Days Campaign
To ensure that people would continue mobilizing long after the Women's March, the organizers in Washington have launched a campaign called 10 Actions for the first 100 Days. According to the Women's March website, the campaign will propose a new action every 10 days. The first action is to write a postcard — which you can print directly from the site — letting your senators know what issues you care about and how you plan to fight for them.
The Women's March website tries to make it as easy as possible: It helps you determine who your senators are and how to send the postcard to them, and it provides hashtags you can browse for inspiration. All you have to do is sign up and get started.
Contact Your Elected Officials
Call, email, and write letters to your congressional officials as well as your state and local representatives. You can find out who they are at this link — make sure they are representing you.
Tell them how an Affordable Care Act repeal could affect your community. Let them know just how important reproductive healthcare access is to you. Remind them that a living wage and equal pay are absolutely necessities. Make it clear, beyond any doubt, that climate change is real and that we must take steps to combat it right away. Insist that they take progressive stances on the rights of immigrants, refugees, people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, Muslims, Native American and indigenous people, and other marginalized groups.
Local politics are critical, and they will be especially so under the Trump administration. Make sure the people your communities have elected are doing everything in their power to fight for you.
Donate To Planned Parenthood And Other Organizations
This is straightforward. Donald Trump's administration and a Republican-dominated Congress have threatened reproductive healthcare services like Planned Parenthood. Donate to Planned Parenthood today if you are able, and spread the word. Planned Parenthood doesn't just provide abortion services; it makes a range of healthcare services accessible to many people, including low-income communities of color. You can also support Planned Parenthood and reproductive justice by volunteering or by organizing and attending protests in conjunction with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
But reproductive rights aren't all that will be threatened under the new administration. A number of communities are now at increased risk, so here a few organizations you can support that will be able to make a difference:
- American Civil Liberties Union: If Trump's administration attempts to violate people's civil liberties and human rights, the ACLU will take him to court.
- Southern Poverty Law Center: Given Trump and his team's penchant for misinformation, it is more important than ever that we support the SPLC's education and advocacy efforts.
- Council on American-Islamic Relations: Trump ran on a platform that further marginalized Muslims, and the uptick in hate crimes during and after his campaign is proof that we need to work in solidarity with Muslims. One way to do that is by supporting the advocacy group CAIR.
Participate In Movement-Building
If you attended the Women's March, that's great. If that is the extent of your activism, however, that is not satisfactory. The Women's March was a great doorway into organizing for many people, but it cannot stop there. To those who marched on Saturday, consider these questions: Do you believe that black lives matter? Have you created space in your activism for Native American and indigenous folks, immigrants, and refugees? Do you actively work to challenge the gender binary? Are you willing and able to show up for other causes?
Essentially, it comes down to this: Have you made — or will you make — efforts to fight systemic oppression consistently, or only where Trump is concerned? Trump should not be your only focus, and attending one march should not be the extent of your participation in the struggle.
Please make an effort to show up for movements like Black Lives Matter, Fight for $15, immigrant justice events, and other causes. All of these movements are linked; they are not separate entities but rather branches of a resistance tree. If even a fraction of the people who turned out for the Women's March were to come out in support of these movements, it would be an incredible example of collective resistance.
Make Your Feminism More Inclusive And Intersectional
I cannot emphasize this enough. Intersectionality — like allyship — is not an identity you can claim with little reflection. For your feminism to be truly intersectional, it must be critical and cognizant of intersecting identities.
It must be inclusive of transgender and non-binary people, so all of those Women's March posters that reduced womanhood to genitalia were actually quite exclusionary. It must be inclusive of sex workers. It must be inclusive of women of color, women with disabilities, Muslim women, queer women, women from low-income backgrounds, and across all other axes of identity.
Again, it is not enough to say that your feminism is intersectional. You must consciously make space for the most marginalized people in your movements.
Engage Your Communities
If you occupy a place of privilege, one of the most important things you can do is engage your own community. If you know people who voted for Trump, for instance, or you have friends and family who say bigoted things, have a conversation with them. It should not be marginalized people's jobs to routinely put their lives and livelihoods on the line to confront their oppressors. If the Women's March was truly about collective resistance, then one of the best ways to keep that sentiment alive is by doing the necessary work in your own community first.
Taking all of these next steps will not be easy, but they are crucial if we hope to survive. The Women's March was the beginning for some people, and another protest in a lifelong history of organizing for others. What matters now is that we keep working.