Like millions of like-minded individuals across the United States and the world, I participated in a women’s march this past Saturday. It was such a sight to see 100,000 people descend upon Minnesota’s capital in St. Paul. Every where I looked, I saw people of all cultural backgrounds, people of all ages, people of all religions and no religion, people of all orientations, and people of all degrees of disability (many of whom participated virtually). And together, we fought for the right to economic opportunity, the right to healthcare, the right to human dignity and personal safety, the right to just immigration policies, the right to representation, and the right to reproductive freedom and care. We heard from our Senators and Representatives, including Illhan Omar, the first Somali American legislator in the United States, and important figures in our local community, such as Sandra Day from the Indigenous People’s Task Force, Raeisha Williams from the NAACP, and Lucila Dominguez from the Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha. I was also happy to see ASL interpreting throughout, something that I have become increasingly aware of with regard to my own privilege since arriving here at St. Kate’s. And importantly, we stood in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Feminism needs to be intersectional in order to practice the kind of equality that it preaches. I am of firm mind that we still have much room to grow in this regard, but I thought this was a great first step for many people in the state and the country. The best of worst times. I was proud to stand with a group of Katies on Saturday, hand in hand with our students abroad marching in Paris and beyond.
So let’s continue to think about the reasons why we march. And continue to protect our first amendment right to do so. It will be a marathon, not a sprint. But I march to protect the ones I love, my students, and those who are most vulnerable among us.
After all, as I saw on sign after sign at the march, a woman’s place is in the resistance. I can’t help but feel that it would have brought a smile to Carrie Fisher’s face.
I find protest photography fascinating, and I’ve long been looking at images from the ANPO protests in Japan in the 1960s. (If you want to see/read more about these images, I highly recommend UCLA Professor William Marotti’s Money, Trains and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan [Duke University Press, 2013]). Like many forms of social activism, protests are most effective when they are visually documented. I wonder what historians will say about photographs of the Women’s March years from now…