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Links and Perspectives: The Women's March

The Women's March in Austin, Texas. Jan. 21, 2017.

The Women's March in Austin, Texas. Jan. 21, 2017.

For millions of us all over the world, January 21st was a great day. It was a day of solidarity and empowerment that followed one of the darkest in American history, a Saturday that for some marked the beginning of a resistance. For many others, it was just another day of standing up for what is right, in a lifetime of resistance.  It has been a week since I marched alongside my husband and 50,000 people in Austin, and I allowed myself this time to think about the experience and what it meant for me. Even though I felt elated after the march, I realized not everyone shared my same positive experience. Many felt excluded and overlooked, and it was important to me to read and listen to these people's stories. It is easy to believe we all marched for the same reasons, or that everyone within the movement has the same struggles and concerns, but there are contradictions and complexities that we cannot afford to overlook. Like writer and activist Raquel Willis said in her speech "A Vision of Liberation", no one can be an afterthought

There were millions of wonderful photos circulating on social media of diverse men and women marching in the United States and cities all over the world, people shared their favorite clever signs and t-shirts, Nasty Women buttons and Trump piñatas. I love seeing all of those, they bring me joy and a powerful energy that I find absolutely necessary right now. But I also want to highlight some perspectives I found online throughout the past week and share them with you now. I think it's key to remember it's not these people's jobs or responsibility to educate, but it is up to us to listen without interruptions when they speak. These women matter. Their stories matter. 

From @sydnerain, co-founder of Indigenize OU, a thread on her experience as an indigenous woman marching in Washington amidst a sea of white women. 

"You could hear what the WW said. 'They're real Indians.' 'They're still here?' 'I think they're faking it.' 'Why do they look like that?'"

From Bim Adewunmi, Buzzfeed senior culture writer, "The Road Women Marched On This Weekend Was Paved by Black Resistance"

"I saw so many black women at the Women's March, and each one I spoke to gave me a variant of the same answer: They were here because they had to be. To have sat it out would've been to cede to a feminist movement that was all too willing to discard them..."

Brooke Obie of The Root spoke to Angela Peoples, co-director of GetEqual, who at the march carried a sign that read Don't Forget: White Women Voted for Trump. The photo went viral, and in this interview she talks about the importance of white women acknowledging their privilege and how crucial it is for them to listen to black women instead of just saying, "Not this white woman!" 

"I would actually say to white women, if you want to be a part of a powerful movement that is going to get something done, you need to get behind and trust black women, trust black femmes, trust black trans women. Because we are making this way out of no way."

Angela Peoples holding sign. Photo by  Kevin Banatte .

Angela Peoples holding sign. Photo by Kevin Banatte.

Two perspectives on Shepard Fairey's We The People poster depicting a Muslim woman wearing a USA flag-print hijab. One, from photograph subject Munira Ahmed, who talked to Slate about becoming the face of "Trump Resistance":

"What's most apparent and symbolic in the image no matter who's looking at it is that this is a Muslim woman and an American woman and she is both of these things and she is not compromising either."

"We The People" photo series by Shepard Fairey

"We The People" photo series by Shepard Fairey

 Another, from Muslim-Iranian writer Hoda Katebi, who notes in her site JooJoo Azad:

 "Know that the hijab-- for *me* at least-- represents a rejection of materialism, of capitalism, of euro-centric beauty standards (among other significance) and draping an American flag over it erases almost everything the hijab means to me... Know that Muslims are tired of having to 'prove' they are American."

These express two different opinions about an image that was seen thousands of times at the march, an image that for some ignited confidence and power, and to others felt dismissive and offensive. Both of these are important to pay attention to and respect.

While I was at the march in Austin, it brought tears to my eyes to see so many Latina women gather, carrying their "Chingonas Against Trump" signs proudly. As a Mexican woman living in Texas, one of my favorite moments from the Women's March on Washington was America Ferrera speaking as a first-generation American born to Honduran immigrants. 

"We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance. We won't build walls and we won't see the worst in each other. And we will not turn our backs on the more than 750,000 young immigrants in this country currently protected by DACA. They are hard working, upstanding, courageous individuals who refuse to live in the shadow of fear and isolation."

This past week we faced the first burst of horrifying actions from the Trump administration. It's been one hit after another, a disgusting taste of what's to come. I am thankful for the influx of communication and perspectives, unexpected heroes, and solidarity shown from people around the world who are disappointed and enraged by the new U.S. presidency. I am also thankful for my own personal experience at the Women's March in Austin, and for a city in which I feel safe and valued, a true privilege at this time.

También sentí un orgullo inmenso al ver la marcha en México, y les agradezco a los que me han contactado para hablar del tema, y a los que lo han compartido sus fotos conmigo. 

Below, my husband and I stand at the Capitol of Texas, after the march. 




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