We may be only a few days away from the inauguration of President Trump (vomits), but there’s a much more significant event happening in DC just a day after.
The Women’s March on Washington is due to take place next Saturday (21st January), with many sister solidarity marches happening all over the USA, and in the UK, Australia, Canada, and many other countries. After a fraught and divided 2016 the mission for the march is to bring forth a global conversation about women’s rights, diversity and equality. It’s affirmative, non-violent action in the face of a year that has both physically and vocally threatened the lives of women and minority groups. More importantly it’s an opportunity for people around the world to stand united in the face of corrupt, misogynistic governments, institutions and people.
“…We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
– Women’s March Mission Statement
Whilst attending marches and protests is a powerful tool, I know there are many passionate activists who cannot attend for financial or logistical reasons, are not physically or mentally able to attend. But there are many other ways in which you can participate, some of which don’t even involve getting off the sofa.
Financially support protesters
Protesting is costly. There’s travel expenses, accommodation fees, and food bills to consider, all before you even pick up a placard. Even if you can’t make it to a march, there may be someone who is dying to go, so why not help them out. If you are financially able donate to the Women’s March fund, sponsor transport, or have a look on their Facebook group or individuals on GoFundMe. Even the smallest donations make all the difference – think bottles of water, the cost of a return bus ticket or even printing costs for posters and banners.
Educate yourself on the issues and organisations the march is trying to protect
People aren’t marching for the sake of marching. The issues that underpin a protester’s motivation to march is just as important as showing up on the day, so swot up on what’s at stake. There’s a heavy focus in the US on protecting reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood – who’s federal funding is likely due to stop once Trump’s Administration in office. In the UK the Women’s Equality Party, Amnesty International, Verve, The Equality Trust & Unite are all key sponsors for the London March, and there are countless other charities around the world that are aligning their values with the protesters this weekend. One easy way to support these organisations is to learn about them and what they do. The next step, support them financially, volunteer, or educate others.
Get loud online
Linked with the last point, once you know what rights and issues are at stake, shout as loud as you can about them. Scour hashtags, promote the march on social media, repost articles, or encourage others who are based in nearby cities to attend in your place. Tweet media outlets and journalists urging them to cover the marches and the issues they are raising. Share articles and correct facts to stop the spread of fake news. And don’t limit yourself to your Twitter feeds. Get the message out on Instagram, Snapchat, your blogs (wink wink nudge nudge) and Facebook. Engage everyone you can, as vocally as you can.
Long after the protesters will leave DC, New York or London, the issues they have marched for will still (unfortunately) exist. The DC organisers have already noted aiming their rhetoric at Trump himself is not effective. Take Trump out the equation and we still have a divided world filled with racism, sexism, and homophobia. They have instead insisted the Women’s March’s priority is to raise awareness of pro-women issues. And we need to be consistently vocal about that fact. Hate does not dissipate over night. Which is why these important conversations need to be kept alive. The march is step one, it’s up to us to follow through.
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I’ll be making the most of these tips myself (as I’m unable to attend the London march *sad times*), but I hope you guys take these on board too!