I remember asking my mom to let me stay home from school to watch the Million Man March back in 1995. I was 16 or 17, excited, and motivated. To watch all of these people pull together to make a statement was amazing. It was the first that I could remember happening in my lifetime. I expected a revolution from there. Because with all of those men coming together in peace and solidarity, what else would we expect as the outcome?
I have watched damn near every other march since then. And yet, I’m still waiting on this revolution. Black Lives Matter. Women’s March on Washington. All these marches, and still no real change.
I watched the Women’s March on Washington yesterday. I was once again amazed. I think women are magic. We are power. We are strength. We are nothing short of amazing. To see so many come together was symbolic.
When everyone goes home, and the march is over, and no one is speaking live on CNN ― what’s next?
When the next Black man gets run down and shot dead like a wild animal in the middle of the street and the men in blue get off scott free-what’s next?
When we have to create another hashtag and remember yet another name because those Black Lives you thought mattered still don’t matter ― what’s next?
When funding to Planned Parenthood gets cut and when men can get sex enhancement pills on their health insurance, but as women, we have to fight for our birth control coverage ― what’s next?
Because what I saw yesterday was an attempted show of solidarity, but I kept thinking, how many of those women there voted for Trump? Because let’s be serious, you can be all for women’s rights, be a feminist, and still vote for Trump, can’t you? Or maybe you were one of the ones that voted for a third party like Mickey Mouse instead, because you didn’t want to vote for either one of the lesser of two evils.
Just a little FYI, according to the World Bank, by 2015, women were 50.8% of the population. We are no longer the minority. Let that sink in. And while you are thinking about that, realize that a lot of your sisters that were marching yesterday at the Women’s March obviously voted for Trump. While Clinton had 54% of the overall women’s vote (to Trump’s 42%), Trump still won the vote among White women (53% of the women voting demographic, Vox.com)
Marching is not the answer. Especially if we are going to march and all have different agendas while we are there. I wasn’t sure that everyone was on the same page. Really, when marches happen, I’m never sure. Everyone comes prepared to discuss their platform. That may be a good or a not so good thing. I still haven’t made up my mind on the fact.
Do the blisters on your feet represent my struggle too? In this case, I saw some of my friends with signs supporting #SayHerName so we remember the names of women killed senselessly by police like Sandra Bland, Don’t mistake me, we should never forget. But then, I saw women dressed up like vaginas to protest Trump’s failed and idiotic rhetoric. Were they there to discuss women’s rights or dispute the callous words of a man? Because marching hasn’t helped men to see us differently. As a matter of fact, were men tuned in to the march to see you dressed up like a vagina or the poster boards to demand that men stop using derogatory words to describe women?
Probably not. Because jerks like that rarely sit glued to their television to watch march coverage.
It may be the unpopular opinion that marches aren’t solutions, but I don’t really care. Because Black people have been marching since the 1960s and in 2017, we’re still overjoyed and doing cartwheels while yelling congratulations to our ‘first Black______’ (insert anything here in the blank ― award winner, person to hold office, etc.)
We’ve marched, linked arm in arm, sang about how we shall overcome. And all for what?
I will tell you what I did like. Women of influence standing side by side with normal, everyday women. Women speaking on the issues and talking about social change. Women who hold office speaking prominently. I would like to think that some young girl yesterday saw Kamala Harris, senator from California speak and that little girl said to herself, “That could be me one day.” I would like to think that some young girl somewhere saw Padma Lakshmi in the studio holding her own as she spoke about being the co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America and her experience being a ‘brown immigrant girl in America’ and was inspired.
Today is day one. We can sit and complain or we can take the next steps.
Community service ― it’s not just something you do to get your graduation credits in college.
There were marches all over from Washington D.C. to California to Paris, France. That means something, but we can’t expect that the march is the solution or the answer. Because it’s not.
The answer is getting involved and getting your hands dirty. We need warriors and soldiers. The fight is not complete without them. But we also need our intellectuals to make us think, our creatives to share love and make us view things differently. It takes a collective to make change. This revolution is not just about women’s rights, feminism, or convincing people that black lives matter. It’s a fight for the human race and all mankind.
So there is no way that a march every few months is going to make a difference.
The key to organizing is to take action. Action is the only way that we will see change. We have a huge fight on our hands, and the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.