So this past weekend, we put on our hats. We marched in our cities, and big towns, and small towns, and on a boat. We held all sorts of signs letting people know that women’s rights are human rights.
But the days following has seen plenty of blow back.
“Why are these women marching?”
“I have plenty of rights.”
“Those hats look stupid, take them off.”
“After marching, the ladies were home in time to make supper.”
“Why don’t they just give the money it cost to go to the march to a charity?”
Don’t get discouraged. Saturday was a great and terrible day. I was amazed by all who showed up to protest, to make our voices heard. But I was saddened that we still need to do this, tell people that women have rights and deserve rights. Women is our country do not deserve to be beaten by significant others. Women in other countries deserve to move freely, go to school, and receive proper medical care.
However, if you are reading all of the stories and some fighting within march participants, don’t give up. This is only the beginning and the start can be rough. Now is the time when we congeal and find our collective voice. An article in USA today gives some ideas on what to do next.
I like this because we need to have a direction for our anger and frustration. We need to be focused. So let me add my list to what we can do until the next march in April.
- Continue to wear the hat. Yes, it is awkward and not in your usual color. So what! Someone made that hat for you. It may not have taken a lot of time on their part but wear it with pride. Until you put away winter stuff, wear your hat wherever you go. Bring it our again in the fall. You are sending a signal to others who wanted to go and couldn’t. You are that safe person they can talk to. And when the haters come to yell at you, don’t yell back, don’t swear at them. Tell them you believe what you believe and move on.
- Put your senators and representative on speed dial on your cell phone. Call them daily or weekly, especially when an issue you cherish is on the line.
- Pick an issue and work for it. Maybe it is Standing Rock or Planned Parenthood or Immigration Rights. Find one that speaks to your interests and passions. Then do the hard part and give them money and/or your time – every month.
- Build your community. Volunteer at a food pantry or mentor program or youth program. Be a coach or a helper for the Girl Scouts or tutor school children or help seniors in your neighborhood. It can be something short and sweet or a longer commitment but do something that makes you feel better about where you live. Grab some friends to join you in this endeavor.
- Help get people out for the vote. If you know someone who is not registered but wants to vote, take them to get the paperwork completed. If someone you know had issues with their registration, help them get it sorted now so they can vote in upcoming primaries. Voters need to develop a pattern of voting and by taking care of that now, those votes will matter more next time. Imagine if each of us helped one person to have the right to vote.
Plan one day a week to be totally offline. No social media, no phone games, no texting or e-mail (maybe just reduce this last one to the most important stuff.) Use this time to relax, sleep late, walk the dog, or clean your home.
- Lastly, plan one day a week to have fun. You can do this on the same day you go offline. Plan a visit with friends. Take in a meal or go to a museum or the library or a long walk in a state park. Throw a pot luck game night. You need to do this to re-charge and take care of yourself. After all, if you spend all your time being earnest, you become of bit dull and overbearing to your friends.
I know some of you are frustrated. I know some of you are feeling disheartened. Maybe this list is overwhelming. Start with baby steps by starting with the hat. Every week add one of the steps until you have all of them. Soon, you will know that you are doing something – a lot of somethings – to improve your immediate world and the bigger issues.
Just remember to be kind, to make your message without swearing, without profanity, without sexual innuendo. We don’t need to be violent or destroy property. We are doing something infinitely much scarier.
We are speaking up, together.