How to make the most of the Women's March, even if you're not in DC
Here’s what you may already know: This January, a massive group of women will descend on Washington for a march. Maybe you heard about the event from a friend, family member, or news story. Perhaps you’re one of the over 600,000 women invited to the march on Facebook. Held on Saturday, January 21, the day after the inauguration, the enormous mobilization will convey a worldwide passion to make a grand statement about women’s rights. Whether or not you plan to march, inform yourself about what all of this means. Participation and support are great. Informed participation and support are better. If you’re intrigued, but DC isn’t accessible, read on for more ways to get involved. Hot tip: there are plenty. Your city may even be organizing its own march.
Essentially, marchers are declaring that women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights. On the Women’s March website, you can download a PDF that outlines the march’s full guiding vision and principles. The unity principles include ending violence, reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, worker’s rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, and environmental justice. If the last item sounds out of place, just consider the importance of clean water and clean air. These should be accessible to everyone, worldwide.
The leaders who prepared the document hail from diverse backgrounds. Representatives from such organizations as MomsRising, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, the Black Women’s Roundtable, the National Council for Jewish Women, and People for Bernie have all contributed. Herein lies another crucial element of the march--it’s explicitly intersectional. For a primer on intersectionality, click here. If you’re feeling ambitious, check out the paper by Kimberlé Crenshaw that launched the discussion. Originally used in relation to race, the term has grown to refer to the ways that gender interacts with multiple other factors--sexuality, nationality, socioeconomic status, disability, religion--in instances of oppression. The march promotes equity across all of these elements of identity.
No matter where you lie on the gender spectrum, you’re welcome to join the march. The diverse group of organizers are ensuring there’s a place for you in the crowd. The National Co-chairs include Tamika D. Mallory, a social justice advocate who worked with the Obama Administration; Carmen Perez, a civil rights advocate and the Executive Director of justice reform organization The Gathering for Justice; Linda Sarsour, a racial justice and civil rights activist and the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; and Bob Bland, the CEO and Founder of social enterprise Manufacture New York. There’s a long list of women who have come together to make this day happen.
Where and How
Over 250 cities around the world will be hosting Sister Marches (at least one in each state and Puerto Rico). Over 50 cities outside of the United States will also offer iterations with their own unique programming. In upstate New York, rally around a suffragist’s grave. In Chicago, hear a singer from the Hamilton musical perform. Comedian Chelsea Handler will lead the march in Park City, Utah. If you’re set on going to DC, the organizers are also providing help with transportation and housing. Find the bus tracker here. DC residents are also offering accommodations.
The DC march will begin at 3rd Avenue SW and Independence Avenue SW at 10AM. After a rally with speakers and performers (Cher, Amy Schumer, Zendaya, Scarlett Johansson, and Frances McDormand are all slated to participate; no word yet on specific performances), the march will proceed about 1.5 miles around the capital.
For a while, rumors circulated that the march did not have the requisite permits to proceed. Don’t believe the lies!
There’s no shortage of activities and eateries to enjoy while you’re in DC. Over inauguration weekend, select bars and restaurants around the city are donating a portion of their proceeds to various causes through a program called All in Service. In Georgetown, eat at Via Umbria and support Planned Parenthood. Further downtown, head over to Proof to benefit the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).
At the National Press Club, the new culture platform, Bold, is partnering with HuffPost and Bustle to present Watch Us Run, a free non-partisan event on January 20th at the National Press Club. Panels throughout the day will explore what it takes to run for office, the role of the media, how to organize, and the importance of being an artist in this political climate. Featured speakers include actress Amber Tamblyn, comedian Phoebe Robinson, HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen, and Daily Show co-curator Lizz Winstead. Plus cocktails, temporary tattoos, and supplies to make posters for Saturday’s Women’s March. If you can’t make it, check out the Livestream on the HuffPost Women Facebook page. If you can, RSVP here.
Planned Parenthood will hold its Pink Ball on inauguration evening (the 20th) and comedy website Funny or Die will present a Women’s March after party at the 9:30 club to benefit the organization as well. DC bookstore Busboys and Poets is throwing a Peace Ball bash on the 19th at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Distinguished hosts and guests include activist Angela Davis, singer Solange, and writers Alice Walker and Cheryl Strayed.
And finally, not to sound like your parent, BUT...
Dress warmly and read the FAQs on what you can and cannot bring. Have a great time making history!