Election Day, November 8, 2016 will go down as one of the saddest days in history for millions of Americans. However, November 9, 2016 should be recorded in history as the day Women around the world got mad!
It was early December that I attended the first meeting organized by Katie Jones, Mary Kuester, Courtney Phillips, and Shannon Rule. These ladies didn’t know what they could do; but doing nothing was not an option. At the meeting 60 individuals, mostly women, with a sprinkling of men, all were looking for somewhere to plug into.
As talk about a protest march the day after the inauguration picked up, Nora Sullivan and Sandy Crow, from the group, along with Pat Landes and Steve Fairbanks began planning a local rally for the same day.
The Rally drew a total of 2,000 people, several men and children were in attendance; but this clearly was a day that women organized, to boldly state their intention to embrace their power as “We the People”. It was also the largest protest march in D.C.’s history, as 500,000 people converged on the city and 4 million nationwide, to stand in opposition and solidarity against an administration that had run on fear, bigotry and isolation.
Later, I had the opportunity to sit down with Yolanda Rush, one of the women who traveled from the Peoria area to D.C. She was so thankful she had gone and said it was an amazing experience. Initially, she knew no one on her bus, but a 15-hour bus ride allowed for friendships to form quickly.
When I asked Yolanda, what compelled her to travel by bus to and from DC in less than 2 days, she got very quiet. She stated, “After the election I was grieving, it felt like someone had died. At work, it was obvious how emotional I was and people would literally come up and give me a hug or an apology. Some of us, who before the election had never said more than hello, began to talk and not just talk but to listen to each other’s experiences. We found common ground and decided to do the Women’s March.”
Yolanda also shared how this election had affected her children, which was another reason she was compelled to go to D.C. The morning after the election they were fully expecting to have the first female president. After learning Trump had won; her 9-year-old son became visibly shaken. He saw Trump as a bully, and couldn’t understand how he won. He did manage to have his own personal protest. While his class watched the inauguration, he read a book, refusing to look at the ceremony.
As for as the most impressive speaker at the Washington March, she felt that Angela Davis was profound, especially when she said, “a white male hetro-patriarchy is no longer acceptable.”
Michael Moore gave practical instructions. He asked them to call their senators daily to voice opposition to the cabinet nominee’s they disagreed with. He also challenged them to run or support someone running for local office.
When asked if she would consider running for an elective office, she said she would not close that door. Her intention for now is to have more civic engagement and learn more about the process.
If the election of Donald Trump did anything positive, it was the awakening of the better angels in a lot of people. It is clear women, will not accept this administration’s radical policies sitting down. They are in this fight until the end and they intend to win.
I’m confident this is not just a moment in time, where after a few weeks we go back to business as usual. This is a Movement! It will be led by women, in the spirit of Ella Baker, who believed ordinary people working together can change the world.