Marching Forward Together

SIF staff participated in the Women's March in Boston and Washington D.C. and share their experiences and hopes for the movement
Women's March Participants - photo credit Lauren Miller
Marchers at the Boston Women's March for America on January 21, 2017 [Photo Credit: Lauren Miller]

On January 21, millions of women and supporters all over the world marched to have their voices heard and to show strength in unity of a community committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion and who understand women’s rights as human rights. SIF team members joined marches in Boston and Washington D.C. and some of our staff shared their experiences, takeaways, and hopes for the future of the movement.

The Social Innovation Forum was proud to be a recognized community partner for the Boston’s Women March for America. For more information on the Women’s March and resources on how to stay involved, visit the Women’s March website.

For many, this was the first time they marched, and I encourage those first timers to continue and show up for their neighbor’s issues.

DIANA VASQUEZ (WASHINGTON D.C) - On Saturday January 21, 2017, one of the largest rallies in U.S. history took place all over the globe, and I was fortunate enough to be a tiny piece of it! Like many people around the country, I felt compelled to attend the Women’s March because I wanted to express my concerns and more importantly to be part of a larger message, a message stating, “we are watching and we will hold those in power accountable.” Saturday manifested a lot of feelings for me: I felt pride in my parents who sought asylum from Nicaraguan civil war in the United States more than 30 years ago; I felt admiration for the organizers who strived to create an intersectional platform; I even felt a little star struck when I found myself marching next to Abbi Jacobson from Broad City; but most importantly I felt energized. As the day of the march grows more distant from the present I want to continue to remind myself, and others, the march was just the beginning. For many, this was the first time they marched, and I encourage those first timers to continue and show up for their neighbor’s issues. Be open, listen, and participate. As a first step, the Women’s March has created a web page with resources for anyone interested in learning more about how to stay civically engaged.

SUSAN MUSINSKY (BOSTON) - As someone who spent a lot of time over the past year walking through the Boston Common enroute to work and meetings, it was quite meaningful to be in that space with such a massive crowd for the Women’ March. Most days, the Common is quiet, simply filled with walkers, dogs, and some seeking support. But, this piece of land has such a history – from the grazing of cows, to being a place for antislavery protests, to hosting victory gardens and wild celebrations after wars have ended. And while the march was happening, that history, and Boston’s historic leadership on progressive issues was alive. There was a sincere element of hope that, together, this community, and our country, can unite, fight back, and work on a broad range of social justice issues and truly make progress for all.

LAUREN MILLER (BOSTON) - I have personally never been a fan of pink. While it was beautiful to see an ocean of pink hats on the Common, my black T-shirt and lack of sign set me apart. The universe has a special way of taking care of the awkward, however, and I serendipitously found a group who I had seen at a protest against police brutality. We were in awe of the power and vastness of the Women’s March, and also shared a sadness that the murder of people of color never generated those types of crowds. Is this march actually for us? Should we even be here? A woman standing near my group shared a similar sentiment as she looked at sign after sign with references to ovaries and vaginas. She was a transwoman who did not have these reproductive parts. Although she is a woman, and stood with nearly 120,000 over women, she articulated feeling isolated and alone. The Women’s March was by no means a small feat and it was inspiring to see the vast number of people ready to fight. I hope the fight continues and allies are ready to stand up for people of color, immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ, and other marginalized groups.

ANNA TRIESCHMANN (WASHINGTON D.C.) - Traveling from Boston to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington, I was excited to be a part of this movement and to walk alongside my mother, aunt, and cousins who had also traveled to the march. But on the plane ride to D.C. Friday morning, I was already nervous about my own ability to take action beyond the march and unsure of how to most effectively stand for the rights of those most threatened by the new administration – people of color, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, and families living in poverty – whose lived experiences I will never truly understand. The incredible organizers of the march created a consistent message of inclusivity and intersectionality. They welcomed those of us who were showing up for the first time, and I left with two clear messages as well as the energy and sense of urgency necessary to heed them: 1) Our liberation is interconnected to that of every other woman and the march, though a triumph, must be only the first of many steps on a long journey that others have been on for a long time already and 2) When in doubt about what actions to take, look to women of color and others who have been marginalized for so long. Listen to them, trust them, and follow their lead. I stand with all women and I promise to show up personally and professionally to continue moving forward together.

A special thanks to SIF Program Coordinator, Lauren Miller, who took photos at the Boston Women's March and allowed us to share some of them here.

Boston Women's March - photo credit Lauren Miller

Boston Women's March - photo credit Lauren Miller

Boston Women's March - photo credit Lauren Miller

Boston Women's March - photo credit Lauren Miller

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