Monday, January 22, 2018

Women’s 2018 March Sets a Record, 500.000 - Celebrates Action

Women’s 2018 March Sets a Record, Celebrates Action: "What a fabulous march! Thousands of women in Los Angeles, professionals, teachers, lecturers. Go sisters, in solidarity, Dr Olga



people to vote in the midterms, as well as a response to all that has transpired during Trump’s first year in office. 

A Las Vegas march held on Sunday marked the official anniversary of the first Women’s March and focused largely on the role of activism to generate voting as a path to change. The Las Vegas effort launched a mission to register a million voters, especially in swing states. 

Tamika Mallory, co-chair of the national Women’s March organization reminded, "We have to march together, we have to organize together, we have to mobilize together and we have to vote together, even when we don't like one another.” 

Additional second day marches were held in Miami, Melbourne, and Munich.
Participants in all of the rallies marched for a wide variety of issues; from immigration and DACA to reproductive and LGBTQ rights to protecting science and the environment. Trump’s first year in office, backed by a Republican majority in both houses, has included a whiplash assortment of assaults on personal freedoms, as well as global issues. 

We read dozens of signs, many criticizing Trump and his policies but an equal number promoting the contributions of immigrants and dreamers. I saw numerous posters proudly acknowledging the ambitions and successes of young women. 

Last week, Fox’s Tucker Carlson voiced an opinion that diversity as a negative; we already know Trump’s take of non-white countries. Carlson is forwarding the idea that this is a Christian and white country, which couldn’t be further from the truth. We are made stronger as a country by the contributions of women, Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists;  people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people. One of the aspects of the March that truly inspired me was the coming together of people from different backgrounds and ages. This is about the present and the future, which doesn’t only belong to men like Carlson. 

The right to gather and to have our voices heard are essential to democracy and the democratic process, as is the right to vote. For me, the March capped a week spent listening to a podcast series on the history of fascism in the 20th century in which academics and experts explained movements in Italy, Germany, Romania, Great Britain, Spain, and the United States. The experts also examined whether the Trump Administration was fascist. The conclusion was that this is an American brand of fascism, hitting many of the points, from the misinformed idea of scarcity of resources to xenophobia and engendering mistrust of the press.

In other countries, fascism was able to take hold when regimes restricted freedom of the press and speech. We’re fortunate to maintain those rights, as well as the right to vote, but we must use those rights by supporting journalism, gathering to share ideas and make sure our voices are heard, and voting. 

The overriding theme and mission of this year’s Women’s Marches throughout the country was to Resist, Vote, and Take Action. The participation of hundreds of thousands across the country and the globe shows that we mean business. The marches are a catalyst to change at the ballot box. 

Neither the resistance movement nor the women’s empowerment movements are going anywhere. As we walked through an art festival at the LA march, we wondered whether the march tradition would discontinue at the end of a Trump presidency. My group at the march concluded that the Trump administration and GOP policies have opened the door to continued activism and engagement. 

A sign at the LA March read, “Thank you, Trump, for turning me into an activist.” Perhaps, for many, it took the risk of losing democracy and everything we’ve fought for to get more people engaged in the process.

 

(Beth Cone Kramer is a Los Angeles writer and a CityWatch columnist.)

-cw

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