Standing In Solidarity

Standing In Solidarity

Attendees of the Women’s March on Oklahoma had signs at the Oklahoma City Capitol on Saturday, Jan. 2017. Protestors across the world gathered in resistance against President Donald Trump and to raise awareness about women’s rights. (Cara Johnson/ The Vista). 

Twelve thousand people gathered at the state capitol on Saturday, January 21st for the Women’s March on Oklahoma, joining the largest inaugural protest in U.S. history.

The Women’s March on Oklahoma, and the other marches that took place internationally, were Sister Marches of the Million Women March that took place in Washington D.C. on the same day.

Around the globe, 4.6 million people took to the streets on Saturday to stand in solidarity in the quest for civil rights and social justice. This act of unity and expression, that also lacked violence, was met with question as well as objection.

“What’s the point of this?” “I don’t feel like a second class citizen as a woman.” “I don’t feel like my voice isn’t heard because I’m a woman.” ” I don’t feel I am not provided opportunities in this life or in America because I am a woman.” ” I do not feel that I don’t have control of my body or choices because I am a woman.”

What stands out the most to me in the reactions I’ve been hearing to this march is the word “I.”

Are we so absorbed by our personal interests that we’ve become blinded to the plights of others? Have we lost the ability, or at least the desire, to put ourselves in another persons shoes? If you’re a woman and you don’t feel oppressed in this society, okay. It’s clear that you’re content with the amount of equality that you feel has been achieved, but should we only fight and speak out for equality until we personally feel comfortable?

Despite what some will argue, it’s clear that women have yet to reach total equality in this country. The obstacles are even larger for women of color, and internationally I can’t even begin to describe the amount of fighting that needs to be done for women’s rights.

Are all of these women just out of luck because you’re content with your lot in life and because things seem like they’re going to start aligning with your personal beliefs?

Maybe you have access to a great physician who can walk you through all of your reproductive health needs, but what about the women in this country who wouldn’t have access to this kind of care without Planned Parenthood? Maybe you’ve never been put in the position where abortion was a consideration, but what about those who have no other options? Maybe the job you’ve worked your whole life to get and were clearly more qualified for was never given to someone else because of gender, but what about the women who’ve had this experience? Maybe there isn’t a gender wage gap in your particular line of work, but what about the women working in industries where this gap is very real? Maybe you feel respected and listened to, but what about the women who don’t?

Despite popular belief, it’s not all about you, and a world where we only look out for ourselves seems bleak at best.

What also stood out to me was the lack of understanding as to why people get out and march in the first place. This march was not purely about women’s rights. It was about human rights and standing in solidarity with those who could have those rights taken from them under the Trump Administration. It was about standing up for the environment and the First Amendment, which are under direct threat. It was about standing with all women, the LGBTQ community, the poor, immigrants and minorities, letting them know that things may look bad right now, but if things start to go bad we will be right here fighting with you.

This march wasn’t planned with the expectations of Trump signing over his presidency that night, it was planned to send a message. The message being, if you try to take rights away from any of us, there are going to be 4.3 million people who will stop it, and I believe that the march conveyed just that.


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