The past few weeks have seen their share of political uproar with the Inauguration of President Donald Trump, the Muslim ban, and the Women's March on Washington. While things seem dark, there are still amazing people doing great work that remind us of the power we have when we stand together. I had the opportunity to speak with Alison Désir, on behalf of Four Women Run for ALL Women, a group of women who set off on a journey to raise money for Planned Parenthood.
Alison Désir broke headlines around the world when she created a GoFundMe page to support her run from New York City to Washington, DC to raise money for Planned Parenthood. The initial goal of $44,000, set in commemoration of the 44th President Barack Obama, was passed and the page raised over $100,000 with support from people around the world.
"I stand with Planned Parenthood because it's more than just women; and the way that it's being attacked has to do with men trying to dictate what women do with their bodies. People will die, and that's why I had to act," Alison said about Planned Parenthood and her decision to embark on this journey.
"I was always athletic," she said, explaining that running works as an outlet to combat issues within her personal life and it quickly became a catalyst for something greater - a political statement. "For women, running is a political act in the first place. This year is the 50th anniversary of the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon - and the marathon is 120 years old. Running is political because women's bodies are policed so much, and we're reclaiming our bodies in a form of strength".
The Women's March holds a special place in Alison's life for a number of reasons, mainly because of the intersectionality. For Alison, The Women's March "provides a space for conversations to take place that are normally ignored; conversations about what being a woman means and creating intersectionality amongst those who identify as women." While the Women's March has come under fire for the lack of intersectionality in certain areas, Alison believes that the critique should focus on moving forward and how a more intersectional movement can be achieved.
In total the #Run4AllWomen campaign raised $103,544 in donations that will be directly donated to Planned Parenthood, who will determine how the money is divided across the various health centres. "This is an opportunity for privileged folks to use their voice to create that opportunity; so I am challenging women to be creative and find their voice to join the conversation - and to know that opportunity is there"
There is strength in unity, and Alison's journey is an example of that. While financial donations were bountiful, there was a number of people who came together to support in other ways, such as the police department in Baltimore who gave the group of women an escort to ensure safety, and strangers who allowed them to take showers in their homes. It was a community coming together for a cause bigger than themselves, and to give room for a better future.
You can find Four Women Run For ALL Women on Facebook for updates on their story.
I would like to thank Alison for her time and speaking with me and I would also like to thank Georgia Jablon for making this conversation possible.