Fortunately for writing purposes, I’m getting to “this day” prompt today instead of yesterday.
Today I’ve reflected on the power of women. I’ve thought about a number of quotes that have resonated with me the past couple of days:
We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.–Malala
It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness –old Chinese proverb, often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt
The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.–Adrienne Rich
I know this women’s march means different things to different people. And I don’t pretend to agree with all the reasons people are marching–I don’t believe I have to. For me and for many of us it’s about using our voices for those who do not have a voice. For speaking up for civility, respect, empathy, compassion, and civil and equal rights.
By being silent I could not reconcile the many times during the past couple of years I’ve asked myself where I would have stood had I lived during the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements or Nazi Germany, or how I would have responded had I lived during a time when this country locked up Japanese men, women, and children in internment camps with how I feel in my heart about current happenings.
And so I even though I’m away from home and had to work today, I have supported my friends and family in their various marches in whatever ways I could. And since I believe we can stand up for what we care about and believe without being hateful towards others who see the world differently, I have used my voice where and when I could. And I was happy when someone I know promised to write my name–along with so many others–in henna on her arms as she marched in D.C. today.
I know some will judge me and assign certain beliefs to me to which I do not ascribe simply by association. Others will not see what I am standing up for because they cannot distinguish standing for something from standing against America.
I can’t help but remember how a few years ago after a number of high-profile brutal rapes in India a group of women I don’t know organized a march at consulate in Canada in order to peacefully request their native government be more vigilant in protecting women from rape and in prosecuting the men who violently violate women, often in gangs, while everyone looks the other way.
In solidarity, a friend and I organized a similar vigil and invited our friends and family who would to join them in spirit by having a moment (or many) during their vigil to think about these women and show our support for the safety and protection of women.
After their vigil I saw a newspaper article that stated only 50 people attended. Not wanting them to feel alone and unsupported in their worthy cause, I found the newspaper on Facebook and left a comment about our sisterly vigil from across the borders, told them how many people had joined our group prior to their peaceful protest and how unbeknownst to them they actually numbered just over 200 from across the world.
Perhaps that is a small number. But 200 is greater than 50. And I have to believe that knowing people you’ve never heard or or met or who are not personally affected by your heartbreak stand with you might mean something.
We’ve never met, but since then the two organizers friended me on Facebook. We share in one another’s joyful moments and also, sometimes, one another’s sorrows. We appreciate the beauty in one another’s occasional vacation photos. We wish each other Happy Birthday. “Blessings on you,” we say. And we mean it.
Never underestimate the power of women who share and listen to one another’s stories. Who have compassion on the world. And who, without necessarily being the same race or religion or having the same political beliefs, have the courage to stand together and speak up for common good. –me
[Day 68 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]