The Women’s March in Seattle this weekend was a throng of smiling people, full of humor and generosity, greeting each other like old friends. It was infectious. The sun broke through and we stripped off our outer layers, parkas or sweaters or puffy coats. At one point, two eagles circled overhead. Sometimes silent, sometimes erupting in a rolling cheer that made its way over three miles, from front to end and back again. Always respectful, always kind. As we came down Jackson Street, a woman in short shorts and knee high socks stood out on her balcony, blasting music and dancing with her boyfriend, fists pumping in the air as the crowd cheered and raised their signs. We finally had more space to move and our shuffle turned into a saunter, and there she was, swaying to Bob Marley: don’t worry, about a thing, ‘cause every little thing, is gonna be alright. My heart swelled.
I had been worried as I left the house, anxious about joining a crowd of 50,000. Participating in a march made me uncomfortable, from my concern that privilege had made my participation too little too late to my anxiety about where the bathrooms would be. Everyone has different starting points – and it’s not a straight line. We are constantly entering cycles of education, reflection and action. It’s not just one moment of waking up, it’s a continuously expanding and widening cyclone of awakening. And within this there are tools to help us gather information: we rely on written history (and too often this is written by those in power), what we’ve been told by our elders about our own family’s belief and value systems (and at some point in life we individually must decide whether these serve us anymore), and what we experience personally. Balancing these three allows for insight and the ability to engage with integrity. I recognized that my present moment is a part of ongoing history, and it was time for me to show up. If I intend to be an asset in this new world (and as philanthropists, we should all be aiming for this) then I must place myself at the precipice of discomfort in order for something new to take shape. And while my actions might be flawed and I’m sure there will be missteps, I’m here now. I’m listening with new eyes.
As we marched, we talked about tomorrow. How do we sustain our vigilance and compassion through action. How do we hold ourselves accountable every day for creating the world we hope to leave our children and grandchildren. I drew strength in that crowd. My convictions were made bolder, my truths of justice and equality mirrored in a sea of diversity: not 50,000 people, but an estimated 3x that, and over 2 million people worldwide. In this crowd, I was no longer uncomfortable. It was a reminder that when I’m feeling anxious it’s a sign that I’m not doing enough. I looked around at the hundreds and thousands of faces, as far as I could see, and recognized a shared vision of a world that is connected. We are better together, and when one of us is hurting, we all hurt. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but with these people. How do we harness all of that power and create a true resistance that can effect change? How do we capitalize on the momentum of Saturday and set achievable goals to stay engaged over the long haul?
For me, I will follow Jennifer Hofmann’s Weekly Action Checklist to stay engaged (first up, postcard writing and petition signing). I will take my anxiety as a hint to push myself further outside of my comfort zone. And I will find ways to educate myself about my privilege and become a better ally to people of color and communities struggling to achieve social, racial, economic and environmental justice. To start off, I’ll be hosting a Showing Up for Racial Justice house party in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more info about that. In the meantime, the following resources provide tons of information about creating a personal action plan. What steps will you take?
Many, many resources for getting engaged and staying engaged:
Women’s March: Now is not the time to hang up our marching shoes – it’s time to get our friends, family and community together and make history. That’s why we’re launching a new campaign: 10 Actions for the first 100 Days. Every 10 days we will take action on an issue we all care about, starting today.
Weekly Action Checklist: Clear actions you can take from home to support freedom and equality for all Americans; a weekly reading list of selected, thorough views on important issues; a Not Normal section that shows how this presidency, vice-presidency, and the far-right movement acts out of integrity with American values; and, a “good news” section about good Americans doing kind things for each other.
Resistance Manual: Action begins with information. There are more of us who believe in equity and justice than those who support Donald Trump’s ideology of fear and hate. Together, we can harness the collective power of the people to resist the impact of a Trump presidency and to continue to make progress in our communities. Get educated. Get organized. Take action.
Indivisible: A practical guide for resisting the Trump Agenda. Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.
Flippable: Our mission is to turn America blue by building a movement to flip seats. We focus on state races, which play a huge role in national elections but are often overlooked. Information about these races is hard to find, and busy people don’t have the time to sift through it. That’s where we come in. We’ll tell you which races are more important, who’s running, and how you can support them.
The New Normal: Ways to keep America great as we go about our everyday lives
Presterity: This is a collectively authored reference site about the Donald Trump administration. This work is produced by a partnership of concerned citizens, journalists, politicians, and watchdog organizations. Our mission is to document the Trump phenomenon, and ideally, limit the damage that can be caused by this unprecedented assault on facts, civil liberties, civil rights, and norms of public and political behavior.
Daily Dues: Are you a white liberal woman? Are you ashamed of this election? Ashamed that it was men and women like us – including people we know and love – that put Trump in the White House? Are you ready to admit this didn’t come out of nowhere; this is the America that people of color have been fighting against for centuries. Does the idea of one march, donation, or volunteer day just not sit well with you? Are you ready to own up to our role in all of this and do the real work? Then this is for you.