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The Women’s March on Washington

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Woke up to the most exciting news about the marches across America and the world. The Women’s March on Washington (specifically the one in DC) is so big, they couldn’t formally march to the White House. The march in LA expected 80k people, but got 750,000. This is so historic. Make sure you understand why these marches are happening before choosing to sneer at it, or stay neutral. When women first started marching 100+ year ago, it lead to (white woman’s) first rights to become CITIZENS so never underestimate the power of an organised peaceful protest.
Images from marches across America. Via: NYTimes.com

I’ve taken a break from my hiatus, otherwise I would have missed the most exciting day for women and minorities in the current state of affairs! Who would have guessed how BIG this was and how far spread it was?  What a day to be alive!

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Women’s Marches across the globe: including Antarctica!

As I began this blog in August last year, I was aware of the unrest and underlying anger of feminists, humanists and civil rights activists and so forth across the world. I had no idea what was to come, but I felt a huge urge to do and SAY something myself. I knew it was time to get on board. Having received so much flack for my views, it’s empowering to know I wasn’t alone in this, and that so many people feel what I feel. It seems the election of Trump was just the ignition needed to blow up the ticking time bomb. I am so incredibly proud to have witnessed humanity rise up – across the world – to say “NO” to the system, the flaunting of ignorance and indecent human behaviour, and people who don’t believe in equality for all.

The fact that the Women’s March on Washington (which is effectively a march for equality, climate change, anti-greed and so on, not just for women) has dominated the news scene and dwarfed the crowd turn out for the Inauguration is so exciting. It says something. Everyone from career activists to celebrities to first time activists and introverts have joined up – oh, how I’d love to have been in the States this day! The Official Women’s March on Washington in DC was SO BIG it couldn’t march to the White House for safety and coordination reasons. The LA crowd was expected to be 80,000 but got an estimated 175,000! There were marches in London, Sydney, Vienna and about 20 other countries, and even in 4 cities in little old New Zealand! All organised in less than 2 months! This sort of outcome is not to be sneezed at. If you haven’t taken thought to why this is happening, I suggest you get informed — after all, I believe this will become a notable piece in the history books, and you’ll want to be able to proudly tell your grandchildren how you played a part.

“Once or twice in every generation a line is crossed so egregiously that where you stood on the issue will forever define you.” – Kara Vallow

Hilarious and clever signs from various marches. Please contact me for crediting!

For those who understand why these marches are happening, I need not explain. For those who don’t understand why these marches are happening, let me explain.

In a nutshell, the last four thousand years have seen women persecuted, cast as secondary human beings, not been seen as capable or intelligent as men, and often having to struggle in abusive conditions and lifestyles across many different cultures and laws. We don’t know a lot about Women’s History because it’s simply never discussed or taught in our schools. Black Civil Rights has been covered a little better – simply because the condition for Black people was so much worse. But for many minority groups, their stories have not been told.

But without delving too much into the history that brought us here, it is important to know that laws for equality that came around only over the last century didn’t happen because white men in power suddenly felt guilty and decided to be nice, they happened because the minorities in every culture stood up and protested. I didn’t get my education and freedom to work as a woman without the activism of the Suffragettes pre-1920. I’m super grateful to these women who had the strength to stand up and risk persecution, job loss, jail time, ridicule and even torture so that my future as a woman wouldn’t have to be a choice between becoming a spinster in a limited career path or the property of a husband. Likewise, those who activated for Black Civil Rights in the 60s and Gay Rights in the 80s-onwards have all risked EVERYTHING in order for the particular minorities to have less social stigma today. Our future children will thank those today who stood up against a corrupt US Government for equality, climate change and reproductive rights for women, among the other rights that are being trampled on by the Trump administration and the extremists of corrupted nations and religions across the world.

Some might think this is a waste of time! But even if today was completely ignored by Trump, the whole world has taken notice. People are getting inspired and jumping on board. People are questioning what they value. Mindsets are being changed. The fight has only just begun.

The Women’s March, or the March against Trump, isn’t a march against Democracy. It isn’t even a march against the fundamentally flawed Electoral system that helped seal Trump’s victory. The Russian scandal, his lying and breaking of the constitution on day 1 hasn’t really been mentioned. This March is focused on protesting the values of the Trump Government, which is working to eradicate all that is fair in America. The rights of and opportunities for all citizens, including immigrants and the LBGQT community. The Arts. Science. The fight for the Climate. And bringing in Greed, Religious Fundamentalism, Discrimination and Sexism. Normalizing casual misogyny, racism, homophobia and xenophobia. Working backwards to make America Hate Again. If anyone is comfortable with this sort of value system, they really need to check their heart. This isn’t about standard republican policy, this is about basic human dignity and decency.

If you see only one presentation from the March, I urge you to watch Ashley Judd’s hugely powerful and emotional rally speech here. Also, the NY Times has a rundown of the events that have/are taking place. Stay informed, and get on the right side of history. To those who are following, or taking part, I am SO PROUD of you. Let’s stick together and fight for what is right. If you took part, I want to know! Share your thoughts down below.

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Words from my hero ❤

“Women’s Rights are Human Rights” – HRC

www.womensmarch.com/

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Suffragette Chronicals

Historical Suffragettes: Ms Pankhurst

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I’m a little late on the posting schedule today, but I really wanted to think this blog post through. I might come across as having an adamantly single view on this topic, but I promise you, I’m open to discussion!

In every wave of feminism over the last 100 years, there is a figure who stands out as the face of the movement at that time. For the first wave of feminism in the early 20th century, that person was Emmeline Pankhurst. A warrior in a corset, Pankhurst was possibly the most critical political and social agitator in the 20th century.

I first became aware of the significance of Emmeline Pankhurst when Meryl Streep portrayed her in the movie Suffragette in 2015. She was in the movie for a whole 5 minutes, so you didn’t really get to know much about her apart from the fact that a) she was the head of the Suffragette movement in Britain, b) she had been arrested quite a bit c) she encouraged the use of force when peaceful protesting wasn’t working and d) for that, she was a controversial protagonist in many ways.

When the movement for Women’s rights wasn’t making progression, Pankhurst encouraged adopting the man’s method in order to make women’s voices heard: Violence.

Deeds not Words

This was a commentary about reform. Fight back. Make the news. Give them a taste of their own medicine. Sounds pretty terrible, but if you think about it, women engaged in peaceful protest were already being arrested, tortured, beaten by the police, and with little success; it would have been madness to continue with the same methods and expect a different result. I have to note that that this message didn’t involve murder. No one died – at least until Emily Davison stepped in front of the King’s Horse at Ascot 1913 and accidentally did. It did mark a turning point in the movement though – her death gained international attention and coverage and forwarded the movement.

As mad as it sounds, while it looked like suicide, Davison was simply trying to attach a Suffragette banner to the moving horse. A risky move, but it’s clear she was prepared to go to considerable lengths to make a statement. And she did so, as part of the struggle against the inequalities of society, in the face of hostility, imprisonment and violence. It raises the question of what we would be prepared to die for.

I have made speeches urging women to adopt methods of rebellion such as have been adopted by men in every revolution. – Emmeline Pankhurst

This resonates with the biblical belief that faith without works is dead, as seen through Jesus’ death for humanity. So can we really blame her?

Violence aside, ‘deeds not words’ teaches us that we need to walk our talk. Make whatever we believe in our lives and passion and commit to it through real action. It may open doors for persecution and hate, but this is all part of the struggle for change. Where in the old days people would stand on a soapbox in the street and yell out revelations, today we have social media in which to vocalise our thoughts, and these messages spread faster and further. A certain responsibility is necessary with this power. If the message isn’t ethical, moral or promoting the advancement or equality of all people, this tool can be more of a curse than a blessing. In the case of taking action, many people are keen to step up and help others out but often for the wrong reasons. For example, there is a problem of ‘voluntourism’ where well-meaning folk sign up to volunteer for people in need – particularly in impoverished and diseased places – but often end up providing superficial service dedicated to the social media experience rather than the goal of making a genuine difference. Now while I certainly don’t want to bag anyone willing to give up time for a good cause, and any sort of charity or volunteering is gratefully required, these people often end up being more of a burden than a help for the organisations they are working for. Similarly, most volunteers travel in summer time, so during winter these people and places can be desperately under-staffed.

Discipline. Sacrifice. Commitment. I know how hard this is! I’ve often flaked or half-heartedly committed to something. I wouldn’t expect everyone to drop their full-time job and travel to Kenya for a full year of intense volunteering in order to convince me they’re committed to the cause. I also wouldn’t expect anyone to die for it. But I have promised myself that whether I end up volunteering for or sponsoring a woman, or a community of women, I will travel during winter, or keep up sponsorship for as long as I agreed to sign up for. Our actions should not be the case of ‘lip service’, or because of ‘duty’, or when one is in the mood. If you want to make a meaningful contribution to the world, it’s simply a matter of following through with a promise. It doesn’t even have to be volunteering! It could be keeping a blog alive. Or donating money, time or skill without complaint. Or standing up for something that matters to you.

But whatever the circumstance, please, please don’t die for any cause!

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