Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's March on Washington Minnesota-style

So it's been awhile and I have been busy with life, haven't we all?

My last post was about my return to Twitter. And I must say that after a few rocky starts I am using it again to expand my thinking and broaden my perspectives. On my! What time to be alive!

This post will be my reflections of the Women's March that took place in cities and towns around the globe on January 21st. I marched in St Paul, MN with 100,000 friends and neighbors. It was amazing. The buses and trains were overwhelmed, so for many people the march began with the walk to get there. For me that was two miles from where we got off one bus to transfer, only to find that all subsequent buses were too full to pick up passengers at any more stops. All along the route to the march and on the march to the capitol, women, girls, men, boys walked together in community with the hope that we were doing something special, that we were making a difference, that we were marching in solidarity for equality, freedom, justice, self determination, human rights for all women.

My friends and I did note that while the signs acknowledged respect for diversity and there were people of color present, overall it was a fairly white crowd. Now at 85% Caucasian, Minnesota isn't known for it's diversity, but Saint Paul itself is only 60% white and over a quarter of the population speaks a language other that English at home so we were a little sad that we saw mostly people who looked like us participating.

Since the march I have been reading on Twitter and Facebook of how people of color, indigenous people and gender non-conforming people were treated poorly at the Women's March in DC. Reading their stories has been a lesson for me. White privilege is so ingrained in our beings as women in the dominant culture that even when we are trying to do the right thing, we further marginalize the very people we say we want to help.  If this is something you'd like to explore, I encourage you to look for people around you or to follow on social media who are very different from yourself and seek to understand their stories. What they say may trigger a defensive response but the resist the urge to say, "That's not me." If we white women are truly going to make a difference, we must do a better job of listening to every voice and not expect everyone to experience the world as we are accustomed to living it.

Now, I want to end with a picture of my grandma's gloves.
I wore these on Saturday to march. My grandma, who died in 2000, came as an immigrant with her family to the United States as a young girl the year that women here won the right to vote. She was a quiet but fiercely independent woman who worked all her life to make the world a better place. I marched for her and for my daughter and for my four-day-old granddaughter with the hope that despite the way things look right now, we can make the world a better place for all women in whatever form we are present.

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