I Won't Attend The Women's March This Year. Here's Why.
On January 21, 2017, while millions of women marched in protest, I sat at home on the south side of Chicago bursting into manic tears and cold sweats, trying to process the perplexity of our country’s view of feminism and how it never includes my black ass.
While recovering from serial panic attacks, this is what I realized: The white women in my life, when confronted with opportunities to stand on the right side of justice in real time, are a constant source of irritation. I’ve learned to either tolerate them because I’m too tired to voice opposition or immediately trim out of my life.
I turned this frustration into inspiration. The same day of the march, I created a social platform to increase visibility for black women in comedy. Two weeks later, I launched an online store that celebrates the political contributions of black women.
Instead of waiting for my voice to be invited to the metaphorical table, I decided that a journey of entrepreneurship and the amplification of my own voice would be my form of resistance.
I didn't march last year, and I won't this year, but I will be resisting. Here’s what my life of resistance typically looks like — every day.
7:00 a.m.: My two-year-old daughter wakes up. We play, I get her dressed, and we get ready to head out to a daycare that I can barely afford so I can try to financially recover from a lifetime of being severely underpaid.
8:30 a.m.: Drop her off at daycare and visit a local black-owned coffee shop in Hyde Park, Chicago. You know, to economically empower communities of color. Starbucks will be fine.
9:30 a.m.: I’ll begrudgingly spend $20-$30 on gas every 2-3 days because everybody is allergic to the abhorrent inconvenience that is traveling to the south side. So, because of segregation in Chicago and black people not always being able to choose where to live, I travel to various jobs, meetings, and auditions 30 to 60 min north of where I live.
11:00 a.m.: Sit down with a CEO of a corporation, or an HR representative in charge of Diversity & Inclusion, and strategize how my company’s expertise can transform their company culture to foster an environment for true inclusion.
From consulting on how companies can retain and recruit talent of color to scaling tough conversations surrounding racism, classism, and sexism at work, I self identify as the “Real Life American Koko.”
1:00 p.m.: Create a piece of art for the internet to remind the world that black women are not here to rescue you — for, free that is.
1:30 p.m.: Brace myself to go out into the world and run errands, aka shop for things that won’t be delivered to the south side via Amazon Prime.
3:00 p.m.: Sit in my car after errands, stare off into the distance, and mentally decompress from the actions of Well-Meaning Susie who touched me at the bank. I contemplate that some white people will forever think it’s okay for their fingers to explore the complexity that is Senegalese Twists. I’ll tweet about it.
3:30 p.m.: Craft responses to emails that prey upon my marginalized comedic voice to explain why I can’t do something for free just so their organization can appear more diverse. I’ll laugh at the unlikely sustainability of this artist-of-color lifestyle while I borrow another $50 from my retired parents who are barely surviving off of limited pension funds. So basically, I speak up for myself approximately one hour a day.
4:30 p.m.: I’ll leave the north side to attempt to pick up my daughter on time, because there is a late fee if I don’t. Who needs those problems?
6:00 p.m.: Make it to daycare, then go home, hoping that my co-parenting partner finally understands that women are not always responsible for dinner.
7:00PM - 8:30 p.m.: I’ll actively engage with my daughter while silently praying that her future life as a black woman in America won’t be as extinguishable as mine feels.
9:00 PM - 1:00 a.m.: Write about my feelings, complete freelance projects, think of ways to make money, brainstorm for my business, check in on friends, figure out how to afford healthcare, try to get kissed, and desperately search for black people to watch on TV, etc.
So, nope, I’m not going to this year’s Women’s March. I’m literally just tired. Saturdays are for naps.
Yes, you march, protest, and hold up that signage, girl. Let’s just acknowledge that for some this is a once-a-year-event, and, for others, it’s their lifestyle.
Editor's Note: This op-ed does not reflect the views of Bustle Digital Group and is part of a larger, feminist discourse on today's political climate.