Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Personal View on the Women’s March on Washington, D.C.

Ellis Hughes's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, text
This blog is about writing your life stories. This is a story my friend Ellis Hughes will not forget. See her in the middle of the photo at the right.

The first protest was planned in Washington, D.C., and is known as the Women's March on Washington. It was organized as a grassroots movement to "send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office and to the world that women's rights are human rights". 

My friend, Ellis Hughes, lives in Asheville, NC now, but grew up in Albany, Georgia as I did. When I heard that she had been to Washington, DC for the Women’s March last week, I asked her to tell me about it.

Ellis said her primary issue was healthcare. “My niece had no health insurance, so no regular healthcare until she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. Regular health care would have found that disease much earlier and she might still be alive.”
She said, “The present administration’s proposals and actions are diminishing options for millions.”

Ellis' niece was the daughter of one of my best friends in high school and college

Ellis has been a feminist since she learned that there was such a thing. The opportunity to march nationally was a no-brainer for her.

“I have an Equal Rights Amendment bracelet I wore for years in the 70s … and wore to the Jan. 21 March. I’ve been a member of many women’s groups … from Women in Film to the Women’s Sports Foundation.  Now, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense (although that is not specifically limited to women).  I worked in corporate America for 40 years; the struggle was intense, and is still ongoing in the workplace.”

“I have not heard who actually organized the march in Washington DC. Do you know who it was?” I asked.
“The March started with one Facebook post by a woman in Hawaii, right after the Nov. 8 election.  The actual organizers “on the ground” were several women of varied professional and personal backgrounds,” Ellis said.

She gave me links to articles about who did the work. This one, she said, gives many of the salient facts.
The article on Wikipedia says there were marches even in Antarctica.

Who were the speakers at the march and what were their topics?
The Wikipedia page has that list.  Also, the Women’s March website.  (It is a good source of additional information, too.)

“The crowd was so large that we walked for hours … got close to the stage but were never able to see it.  We did see the Jumbotrons that lined Independence Avenue. I have yet to see all the speeches (they are online).”

Did you meet others who came to protest and what did they say to you about why they were there?
“We talked to several people – many were there to protest the incoming administration’s proposals: anti-woman/individual freedoms, healthcare choices, LGBT, environmental issues such as the Dakota pipeline, education, privatization of public resources, gun safety, and so on.”

How do you think these marches will affect women in the future?
“Judging from the actions of several women I know, they are energized like I’ve never seen before. This past weekend’s marches to protect immigrants are a clear example that this participation is not going away soon.”

Would you attend another march and do you expect there to be more in the near future?  
“Yes and yes. I’m keeping my pussyhat at the ready.”

Thanks to Ellis Hughes for taking time for this interview.

Have you had a big moment in your life that stays with you? Write about how you felt that day, what the weather was like, describe the people around you, the tone of the crowd.What did  you wear? Who was there, men, women and children?


DJan said...

I marched in Bellingham and was simply amazed at the turnout. I think one good thing that has come from this election is the mobilization of so many of us to act! :-)

Abbie Taylor said...

I didn't partpicipate in any marches but would like to have done so. My brother and his wife marched inWest Palm Beach, Florida, and my cousins marched in Denver, Colorado.

Glenda Council Beall said...

I was surprised to see American men out with their wives and daughters on these marches. I think the women's march became a march by all who feel concern that their rights are going to be taken away. Good for you DJan, marching in Bellingham and making your voice heard.

I didn't march either, Abbie, as I thought the march was only in Washington, DC. I later learned there was a march in Asheville, NC and even a small group in Hayesville. What a surprise for everyone to see how many people wanted to express their feelings about things.