#Womensmarch: ‘I saw the future and it was pink’

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I am honoured to host the words of two wonderful women – Laurie Ruettimann and Leticia Sanchez de Garzón – on their experience of the Women’s March in Washington, DC on Saturday 21 January 2017.

Watching from afar, last weekend’s Women’s March moved me to tears. It was a remarkable and powerful event, uniting hundreds of thousands of women* who find themselves concerned at the simultaneously frightening and absurd** direction the world appears to be taking. The Women’s March movement provides the following definition of its mission:

“We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

The Women’s March on Saturday 21 January 2017 saw coordinated marches in cities across the world. The main march in Washington, DC attracted a crowd that either dwarfed, or was dwarfed by, the number of people that turned out for the inauguration of Donald Trump some 24 hours previously.***

Laurie Ruettimann and
Leticia Sanchez de Garzón

each took part in the Women’s March in Washington, DC, although I believe neither knew the other was there. I am humbled that both have agreed to share their words on their experience of the Women’s March here (and related photographs, too). By coincidence, each has written their account from the perspective of family.

I love Laurie’s view that the future is pink.

I love Leticia’s stance of vigilance and preparedness for whatever comes next.

I will be at the next Women’s March in London.

Laurie Ruettimann’s Women’s March

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I attended the Women’s March on Washington DC because I come from a family that’s as common as muck. Women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence than university graduates. Men are almost always cynical, bitter and underemployed. Whenever there’s a recession in my country, my working-class family tightens its belt and bears the brunt of austerity.

Thankfully, during the Obama administration, things began to change. There were fewer unintended pregnancies during the past eight years than at any time in my family’s history. Some of my cousins can finally afford college. Others who were buried under a mountain of medical debt are now covered under the Affordable Care Act. And, to my astonishment and delight, several of my relatives had honest conversations and declared their love for same-sex partners.

My family made tremendous advancements during the past eight years, and I can’t let those gains disappear. So I marched on Washington, DC because I believe that Americans should have the right to choose if and when they become parents. I believe that an education is the single biggest differentiator between opportunity and poverty. I believe that universal healthcare is a fundamental human right. And I believe that Lin-Manuel Miranda is an American treasure and love is love is love.

But I also marched on Washington for minority rights, immigrant rights, and to protect the environment from pollution, degradation, and nuclear holocaust. America’s greatest days aren’t ahead of us if we treat the planet, and our fellow citizens, like trash.

So, what I saw in Washington, DC is that 500,000 of my fellow citizens believe in Obama-style democracy, too. I saw widespread hope, faith, and solidarity. I saw people who believe that wealth and compassion exist in abundance, not scarcity.

I saw the future, and it was pink.

Leticia Sanchez de Garzón’s Women’s March

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of voicing your concerns beyond a ballot box. The decision to attend the march started out as a means for my personal healing, as I was personally distraught for days after the election results were announced. I had no intention of taking my children with me, but then realized how affected my mother and four daughters were, as time went on.

Our efforts perhaps cannot change this election, but it is certainly setting a tone for ourselves for the next four years; one of vigilance and preparedness, that frankly I’ve never experienced before now. Not even after 9/11. The march drove home that we must keep an eye out for our rights and our neighbors’ rights, and I think we’ve all been changed for the better by having participated.

Proud to represent again anytime.

Footnotes

* And gents were welcome too, of course.

** The apparent absurdity of recent world events could almost get one quesitioning one’s reality. But as Veep star Anna Chlumsky reminds us in her excellent January 2017 appearance on RuPaul’s podcast: “Absurd is not stupid.” I’d urge you to listen to all of Chlumsky’s chat with Ru. The point about absurdism comes around 70 minutes in. Chlumsky’s thoughts on the absurd and on absurdism conclude: “Life can only grow from joy and love.” Amen.

*** Depending on how “alternative” you like your facts, or how susceptible you are to what I’ve seen termed “gaslighting.” Psycholology Today provides a useful and timely guide to identifying and protecting oneself from gaslighting. The guide begins: “Gaslighting is a tactic of behavior in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works a lot better than you may think.”

Images

  • Screengrab of a tweeted graphic showing Women’s March participation in the US, as shared by @Ninjaeconomics.
  • Triptych image of Laurie Ruettimann’s day at the Women’s March, as tweeted by Laurie, and reproduced with her kind permission.
  • Leticia Sanchez de Garzón‘s daughter holds up a placard, in a detail from a picture that Leticia shared with the simple hashtag #whyimarch. Picture reproduced here with Leticia’s kind permission.

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