OK, so now what? How do we keep up the momentum from Saturday’s marches?

Last night, on the radio, I talked with a number of local women who had headed off to D.C. to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. At the most basic level, I just wanted to record their thoughts and experiences, having just participated in the biggest post-inauguration protest in American history. I wanted to create a kind of audio time capsule, recording these women, in their own voices, talking about what they had experienced earlier that day, and why they felt it was important, at this point in our nation’s history, to stand together and collectively announce their intention to fight to protect their rights, safety, health, and families. At the same time, though, I was interested to know how they intended to keep this momentum going once they returned home to Michigan, and explore ways in which this huge public action might actually lead to tangible, positive change, and not just fade away like the Occupy movement. And, with this in mind, I posted the following to Facebook upon returning home from the radio station.

returnfrommarch

There were a ton of responses, but here are a few of my favorites. [I’m just using first names, as I didn’t reach out to all of these folks and let them know that I’d intended to move their comments over here.] If you have thoughts of your own, please leave a comment.

Gina Time to takeover the Democratic Party!

Kate Good question. I think the marches are important because they send the message to those who have been marginalized that there are people on their side and serve as a reminder to our politicians that their constituents didn’t all vote for this. But then what? We need people to vote, so work around absentee ballots, organizing rides to polls when the time comes, etc. But we also have work to do around preaching to people who aren’t in the choir. Screaming at them with signs about the morality of their votes, while not unjustified, isn’t going to flip any votes. So, how do we organize to do the really hard work?

Quinn They will re-join the ones that are still here.

Patti Me, personally? I am going to keep it local just because that’s my thing. I want to keep the conversation going and turn it into action–Salons, our own Algonquin Table (because why the fuck not?), spoken word performances, speaking speaking speaking and writing my subversively feminist books. And standing strong in sisterhood, something I’m not always so good at.

Nicky I hope they fuck shit up and fuck American patriarchy in its ass… but that’s just me.

Jerri We keep making our voices be heard in every way we can until we get justice and equality.

Rick Hopefully run for office.

Yen Make Ypsi the social activist art hub Marfa of the Midwest.

Barry Voting in every election would be a good start! Donating to liberal causes, too!

Martha What are you, fired up men, going to do to help us?

Kathleen Biggest crowd I have ever been in today in Ann Arbor – we are already here.

Amanda I hope that people will spend energy supporting people from underrepresented groups (gender, ethnicity, age, orientation, religion, et al) to run for office at every level. Because it’s not easy, and there are not enough people actively supporting building a pipeline towards greater representation. And, that support is still actively needed for people once they are on office as well. So I will, among other things, keep working to engage and encourage people in this way.

Larry That is good question. My hope is that local, county, state posts are filled with activist-minded folks. Attend government meetings and ask why we do it this way. Is this best practice, or routine? Challenge the status quo. Ask for proactive policies, and not just reactive ones. Work as a volunteer, or identify needs with solutions. Don’t just complain. I started a recall of the Mayor of Belleville when I lived there years back and prevailed. You can make a difference, but it’s your job to do, not someone else’s.

Linh I really hope folks will come out to government Board meetings. The AADL Library Board meetings are almost entirely attended by a handful of staff. My former running mates and I are reaching out to high school groups to see if they would like to cover our meetings. And we are looking at how to make meetings more accessible… It doesn’t make for the most thrilling experience to watch 7 people mull over costs around updated bathrooms, but I think it’s interesting to see how decisions are made and by whom. We take our public institutions for granted until they are threatened. So let’s shore them up as best as we can, together.

Natalie I hope people would be willing to reach out to folks living in prisons in Michigan. In order to stop relying on the state we have to build different local systems of support and mutual aid. Short termers and long termers return to our communities everyday from behind the walls. Networks of support to help people reestablish their lives are instrumental to creating resilient and safe communities committed to resistance and non-reliance on corrupt bureaucracies– I.e. police systems, prison systems, detention systems, and the entire criminal legal system. Support starts by writing, visiting, building a connection with a person behind the walls.

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28 Comments

  1. Joe M.
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    There’s definitely not enough solid progressive candidates running across the board, even in the liberal bubbles of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, let alone state-wide or across the country. That would be a good place to start.

    Real progressives, too, not just card carrying lifetime union members/Dems that vote for whoever their local union boss/super delegate tells them to vote for.

  2. Jcp2
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Hey Joe,

    If you don’t want our help it’ll be pretty slow going.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    We need tangible, strategic victories. We need to set up local phone banks. We need to create a culture of resistance. We need to learn from our history. We need to teach media literacy. We need to fight for the truth. We need to defend facts.

  4. Kat
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    You made me look up Marfa.

    http://www.chron.com/life/travel/texas/article/What-to-eat-see-and-do-in-Marfa-Texas-6876982.php

  5. Anne
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Each Tuesday, Move-on members in the area are sponsoring a resist Trump action. This Tuesday there is a Stop the Swamp rally at the Ann Arbor Federal building. You can find other events around the nation at the Moveon.org website.

  6. Teacher Patti
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Join us on February 20th at Dreamland–https://www.facebook.com/events/370328696666410/

  7. Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Pick a lane and fight there. Help others where you can. There is a lot to do and a lot of great organizations and people already doing important work that needs your help. Get involved and give your money if you’ve got it.

    https://studentactivism.net/2017/01/22/heres-what-you-can-do-to-beat-trump/

  8. iRobert
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Did somebody hire Jean Henry?

  9. iRobert
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    That’s step one, I think…get Jean Henry a job.

  10. site admin
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Jean’s OK, but she got into a car accident early this morning, returning from the march. I suspect she may take the day off from posting here. She was on the radio show Saturday night, though, reporting from Washington.

  11. Kim
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    There’s talk of a “show us your taxes” march on April 15.

  12. jean henry
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Rubio says he received more calls in support of Tillerson than against. What are we missing?
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/rubio-announces-support-for-trump-secretary-of-state-nominee-tillerson/2017/01/23/e232baf4-e16c-11e6-ba11-63c4b4fb5a63_story.html

    On the other hand, my 11 year old son says that a clear message has been sent not to mess with women. Politicians must be questioning their commitment to Anti abortion policies now…

  13. jean henry
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    IRobert– stop with the love. It’s too much! I’m blushing!
    Even when I pause from posting, someone manages to insult me here. You all are tough to please. It’s true I’ve been known for single-handedly destroying progressive change. Gotta use your power somehow.
    PS I’m self employed and support myself and my family but thanks to the likely ACA repeal and proposed Trump tax code that negatively impacts single head of households, middle income ACA clients AND small biz owners, I will be returning to salaried 9-5 soon. So yes, you’ll be hearing less from me. That might be a bigger relief to me than you.
    PS I’m fine– happy to be here.
    Will be using public transportation for a while…

  14. jean henry
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    What IRobert learned apparently from a March that mobilized millions of feminists of all stripes, ages, ethnicities and genders is that talking about gender (and other) bias a hindrance to progressive change. Those were some intimidating mothers, grandmas, little kids, baby-wearing dad’s, knitters, and sign makers. So angry! So devoid of love and compassion. They must have been marching for the status quo.

  15. Lynne
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I got separated from my friends so spent most of the March wandering around by myself. That provided me with the perfect opportunity to talk to other women (and some men) who were there too. I couldn’t get anywhere near the rally because it was too crowded so mostly hung out on the mall.

    My conversations were very hopeful. EVERYONE I talked to had a plan going forward. Most were about getting out the vote in 2018 to change congress but several people also had plans based on their individual views. I heard from people who are planning all kinds of activism in the coming years. If there is a cause, someone is fighting for it. I even ran into some Republican women whose plan is to make their party more respectful of women. It really was a hopeful day. If these ladies follow through, we will have our political revolution.

  16. iRobert
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    …and maybe a good psychiatrist.

  17. Ypsilanti
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    While we were all marching, Trump was planning to sign today’s anti-abortion executive order. Marching doesn’t help.

  18. Lynne
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Re:”Marching doesn’t help.”

    It does if it motivates people to get more active. It does if it helps people understand the importance of voting. Marching alone doesn’t work but as a tool in a bigger picture, it can be powerful

  19. jean henry
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    There is plenty of evidence that political pressure applied from the outside does impact policy and political outcomes but the effect is not immediate and progress does not happen in a straight line. Trump likes to come back from attack by hitting harder. he will restrict abortion and access to other women’s health care, but we now have a considerable motivated force that can be mobilized. The executive action will be challenged in court. If it makes it through the system, we have a resistance at the ready. Given that two branches of govt are controlled by the far right GOP, with the third set to tumble any day now, we,the people and the press are the only free acting means of providing checks and balances to power. Resistance isn’t futile it’s essential.

    Ypsilanti– do you think the civil rights movement was effective?

    IRobert– I already have both a psychiatrist and a job! Now what will save me?? Or you??

  20. EOS
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Yes, let the radical feminists take over the Democratic Party. Keep having marches where you carry profane signs and scream about your pussies and vaginas and whine about the need for taxpayer funding for murdering future children. Let them disrupt traffic in cities across America, vandalize property, and leave piles of trash to be picked up by lesser beings. I especially like the pink hats. I’m sure its a great strategy for winning votes. Keep it up!

  21. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Are pussies different from vaginas?

    Apparently EOS thinks so.

    Very strange.

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    EOS is scared. Again. Those hand knit hats are fearsome.

    My favorite part of the march, was when some anti-abortion, Jesus is coming back, giant sign wielding fundamentalists showed up at the edges of the mall. I was in a museum and looking from above. At first the the Christian cabal were met with the standard shouting back. The main crusader had a bullhorn so it was a bit of a chant competition. The pussy hats managed to move the crusaders back a few feet. And then the sea parted a bit around a very gay man in short shorts who was twerking his ass off directly in front of the crusaders. And the pussy hats were clapping out a beat. And damned if that wasn’t what moved them back. And then the cops came and broke it all up, very peacefully. And that was just about 1:15, when the real march began.

    EOS and crew are outmanned. Their abortion free and tax free Christian valhalla will never come to pass. Not in this world.

  23. EOS
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    There may always be abortions, but they won’t be condoned by society or paid for by taxpayers. I think those hats were designed to cover any horns. My favorite part of the March was the Students for Life group that was at the very front, leading the 1/2 million.

    Just watch, this Friday more than a million people will march from the Mall to the Supreme Court for the 44th year in a row. And the media will ignore it.

    I fear only God.

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    It seems there were close to a million people on the mall last week. I can assure you, if a million people show up for a mrach, it will be undeniable by the press. I looked at past reports of Walk for Life marches, and the numbers were more like 400,000. You’ll have to do better.

    PS Did you see that the rates of abortion are at their lowest point since Roe v Wade, and that places with more access to affordable family planning services and non-abstinence only sex education in the schools have lower rates of abortion?

    You’re on the wrong side if your goal is to reduce the number of abortions.

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I helped start a MI redistricting group. Right now it exists in FB land, but we’ll be doing an email list as well. https://www.facebook.com/groups/122407784931260 In late Feb, we will be holding a few ‘train the trainer’ sessions training interested people on how to educate others on the issue. There will likely be some legislative or ballot initiative effort at non-partisan reform in the next few years, The idea is to have people trained on the complex issue and ready to mobilize when that begins. League of Women Voters and Common Cause have been leading this work for some time, in MI and nationally. There are a few other groups like ours focused on the issue as the next step. We are the regiments preparing for this critical battle. Anyone interested can find me easily on social media or out and about IRL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zMqxdNUDOo

  26. Lynne
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I joined the League of Women Voters because of the redistricting efforts but will be out of town for most of February so I will miss some of these initial meetings. I figure there is still time for my participation.

    Honestly, the way so many conservatives are ranting about the dang hats is telling. It shows how powerful they are. They are unifying. If that kind of group solidarity sticks and the left can stick together, we can make the changes we need. Tax payers haven’t funded abortions for years but tax payer funding of other methods of birth control have significantly reduced abortions. If you really want to reduce abortions, that is the only proven method to do so so far. I would even suggest than anyone willing to spend money punishing women who have abortions by making them illegal but who is not willing to spend money preventing abortions in the first place isn’t really concerned with abortions. They are more concerned with policing women’s bodies and their sex lives than they are in preventing abortions. If they were really worried about the unborn, they would take a different approach than making abortions illegal especially if they are making access to birth control more difficult.

  27. jean henry
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I love that EOS envisions those women in hand knit pink hats with horns but claims she fears nothing but God. Fearsome Nasty Women. I hope I grow horns. That would be super cool. Also a built in Self-defense mechanism v all those pussy grabbers.

  28. Lynne
    Posted January 26, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Heh. I wish my vagina could grow teeth. Vagina dentata all the way. :)

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