|"Lifting up others as we rise."|
Don Shaw, Jr.
Writer and Editor
I've really enjoyed hearing and seeing about people's experiences at the Women's March yesterday, and wanted to share some of what I saw in Washington, DC.
|L-R: Liz, Ginny (my mom), me|
Most yards that we walked past had signs with MLK, Jr. quotations prominently displayed. We never got close enough to see the rally speakers—or even one of the Jumbotrons farther away from the stage—but we got to be part of the crowd.
I was touched by the patience and peacefulness of the protest. Conditions were often uncomfortable, and it was frustrating not to always know where we were going or who was speaking, but people handled it with grace. The most tension I ever saw was in the line for port-o-potties—people waiting an hour or more to pee can get a little grouchy—but even there was camaraderie and cooperation (people offering to hold each other's signs & bags so that they could get in and out of the bathroom as quickly as possible).
|With my friend Caitlin (left)|
Skeptics may look at the march and ask, "How do you expect this to accomplish anything? You need to come together around a single issue." I agree that targeting specific issues will be important in the months and years to come, but there was something incredibly powerful in seeing such a diverse coalition of people and goals come together in this one space. And I'd also like folks to remember that moments when social movements make progress—like the 1960s—often see progress on multiple fronts, made possible by different movement groups learning from and supporting one another (think of Civil Rights, Women's Liberation, Gay Liberation, and other movements of the 1960s and surrounding years). Being strategic and organized about our demands for social change is important, but the claim that we must coalesce around a single goal is a false choice.
Kate Mason is an assistant professor of Sociology and Women's & Gender Studies at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Her areas of scholarly teaching and research are gender, social inequality, health, and the body.