Now What?

A march and a movement

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Last week, I used this space to talk about the Womxn’s March on Bellingham, not realizing the post-Inauguration-Day protest movement that started in Washington D.C. the day after the election and spread around the globe would balloon into one of the nation’s largest-ever marches.

According to reputable news sources like the New York Times, approximately 500,000 women and their allies marched in the nation’s capitol. In Los Angeles, crowds swelled to 750,000 (from an expected 80,000). New York City accommodated 250,000, and Seattle around 130,000. In my former hometown of Boise, more than 5,000 humans braved a frigid snowstorm to march through the streets of Idaho’s capitol.

In Bellingham, I was expecting a few thousand people would heed the call to make it known that the new president’s planned policies against women, the environment, healthcare and beyond wasn’t a part of their democratic agenda. Instead, a few friends and I joined a horde that stretched for blocks and soon surpassed 6,000 (some estimates have it at more like 10,000, which wouldn’t surprise me).

Walking down the middle of Commercial Avenue, we could see those who had begun the march at City Hall working their way up a parallel street. Adding to that surreal sight, the call came to “look up.” I’d like to think the half-rainbow that was shimmering brightly in the sky—without the benefit of any rain, mind you—was a harbinger of the equality most of the marchers seemed to be seeking.

Of course, other signs that day were more literal. The missives and artwork on cardboard, paper, cloth and the back of pizza boxes were ones of hope—that black lives mattered, that we the people are greater than fear, that girls just want to have “fun-damental” rights, that we respect the globe that sustains us and, most importantly, that silence is no longer an option when it comes to ensuring that things like women’s healthcare, the environment, Medicare, Social Security, and rights for all are still important where the United States is concerned.

Since one of the focuses of the peaceful protest was to not let Jan. 21 be the only day of action when it comes to fighting the new regime, organizers had also invited entities who are already involved in change to be on hand to share how to get involved.

If you’d like to know more about their suggestions for further action, contact RE Sources, the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County, the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, the Community Food Co-op, the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, Socialist Alternative Bellingham & Whatcom, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS), the Law Advocates, Brigid Collins, PFlag, and the Green Party to get onboard. Make sure Saturday’s inspiring events weren’t just about a march, but also about a movement.

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