WE MARCHED. NOW WHAT?
I marched on November 9th, 2016, with a couple thousand angry people that didn’t really know what else to do. The results of our divisive presidential election were less than 24 hours old, and the cold fall night was filled with angry chants, strained faces, and worried souls. The air was electric. Many carried homemade signs, like this young man’s:
The tone was clear: chants of “pussy grabs back,” “no racists, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” and “my body, my choice” rang out as throngs filled the streets along the Boston Common. The crowd was young, and fired up.
I thought a lot about that night in the following weeks leading up to this past weekend’s inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. No matter how many times I say that he’s not, technically he is my president and we must rise up to the challenge that this circumstance presents us with. But how?
On January 21st, 2017, Women’s Marches took place in every state of this country, as well as all over the globe. Millions marched in cities big and small, and crowds dwarfed those that attended the inauguration ceremony a day earlier.
It was a privilege to join 174,999 other concerned, angry, motivated, and hopeful citizens for the Boston Women's March. To look out across the Common on a sea of pink hats, colorful signs, and hopeful faces was truly inspirational.
The most important lesson I have learned so far in my short life is the value of what we do tomorrow, for our actions today will matter little if they are not sustained and replicated in the future. I learned this through questioning why I participated in weeklong volunteer trips in college: what good was going away for a week if, upon returning to school, I forgot everything the experience taught me and did nothing to follow up on it?
I feel the same way about these marches. They did a lot of good, but without follow up they will be fruitless moments in the textbooks of political science classes. So, I call on you to take the anger, motivation, and hope that has formed inside you over the last few days, take the information gained by listening to speeches, political platforms, and the thoughts of your fellow citizens, and let these things shape your actions tomorrow. Attend more protests. Write. Sing. Go to community meetings. Stand with Standing Rock. Become an ally to those who are in more danger now than ever before - bear witness to their marginalization and put their needs at the forefront. When you see injustice, hold your elected officials accountable. They work for you. Take action, whether great or small. It will be hard, but Rome was not built in a day, and neither will a more perfect union or more peaceful and loving world.
© 2016 By Gregory Baker.