Coffee Party USA Board member, Jeanene Louden, tells how the women’s marches help her work toward her vision (and the Coffee Party vision) of “a nation of diverse communities sharing a culture of informed public engagement that sustains a tradition where our solemn duty to vote is the currency of our democracy.”
The 2019 Women’s March was an event I looked forward to, planned for, and attended with jubilation. My memories are both endearing and empowering. A month later, I am still basking in the joy of it all.
But there were bumps along the way.
Prior to the March here were concerns about “flaws” in the politics of Women’s March on Washington leadership. Fair enough. Questions need to be asked. Answers need to be given.
But ultimately I had to ask myself, “why should accusations about one of these people stop me?” I didn’t march for them. I marched for me. I marched for all of us. I march for equality, equity, and justice.
Every community in my sphere dealt with the pre-march upset differently. Some decided the benefits exceeded the liability of participation. Some proceeded but disconnected from the original organization. Portland, OR redirected the January energy to a MLK event and promised a Women’s March in March, International Women’s Month.
But for me, “bag the whole thing” was not an option.
I was pleased to watch folks work through the issues as a community. I don’t jump too quickly to media buzz, and I really don’t dance to denigrating talking points. I have been studying propaganda for some time, especially the last two years, so I am always looking for the emotional hook that is powerful enough to lead me astray or to underscore some existing (often hidden) prejudice in order to fuel an irrational response.
So, I was very impressed with the adult problem solving I witnessed in the real world (as opposed to social media or cable TV).
Then there was the shutdown.
I had originally planned to return to DC, getting together with the women I had marched with in 2017. But the fact that TSA workers and air traffic controllers were furloughed and working without pay stopped me cold. It felt like a violation of my moral standards to be a part of the reason they were singled out for this double whammy of abuse.
I cancelled my trip to DC and chose to march with my friends and family (including a grandson) in Bend, Oregon.
In the face of all that, it seems somehow fitting that we celebrated Dr. King the week preceding the march. His annual celebration always takes me back to the time when citizens with concerns peacefully took to the streets with signs and songs creating the opening for change.
(Click here for a protest song from the ReSistas performing an original work at the march I attended.)
As was my experience at the Women’s March in DC 2017, this year’s march was a powerful affirmation of my vision of this republic’s democracy. There, and in sister marches across America, we expressed our personal outrage and embraced our collective outrage. We were reassured that we were not alone in our concerns.
And, it was not difficult to see that validation of women’s rights was validation of human rights, of a code where everybody counts or nobody counts. Dr. King would have been proud.
And what about future marches?
My outrage continues and my nation will hear my voice. I will march. I will carry my sign. I will learn new things and meet new people.
My march into the future I envision will continue. And you?
ReSistas video on Jeanene’s Facebook page