How Saturday’s Women’s March Changes My Monday
After months of heart wrenching, tear inducing moments, taking part in the Women’s March in San Jose this Saturday was a chance to fill my lungs with optimism and hope. The atmosphere was festive, the skies sunny, the conversations marked by determination and encouragement. I was struck by the diversity of the crowd – the wise, battle-weary faces of older women and the outrageous outfits and gorgeous rainbow hued hair of optimistic millennials, the fathers with daughters on their shoulders and the young boys proudly carrying signs about equality for their sisters. I saw signs that made me laugh, signs that made me blush, signs that made me instantly want to be friends with the people carrying them. Signs about loving each other and the earth, signs about defending democracy and protecting the rights of women, immigrants and black Americans. Signs calling for both unity and resistance. I didn't completely agree with every sentiment, but I was moved by the creativity and passion and intrigued by the story I imagined was behind each proudly carried placard. When I got home I spent a glorious evening scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds seeing posts from friends marching in DC, NY, LA, Oakland, Portland, Bend, Paris, Atlanta, Ashville, Austin, Chicago, San Francisco. All united around our belief that we each play a part and bear a responsibility in making this a better world for all people. So now what? How do I take this mountain top experience and carry it through to my everyday life and work? Here is what I think I will try to do more of on Monday:
1. Support the young people in my life – Lots of research, including this recent study from Express Employment Professionals, show that millennials care deeply about social issues and believe they can positively change their communities and the world. I want to nurture that conviction in the young people I work with. I want to commit more time to mentoring them in the hard-won lessons I have learned while nurturing their conviction that they can make a difference.
2. Seek to understand different points of view – It is so easy to surround ourselves with people who see the world as we do and to avoid or instantly dismiss divergent perspectives. But we face complicated issues and I am convinced that change starts with conversation. I want to seek out someone who didn't vote the way I did and listen to why. I want to see if I can find some common ground where we can work together rather than pull further apart.
3. Stand in the gap – I am concerned that many of the causes I care about - arts education, reproductive rights, foreign aid to Africa will face funding cuts. I am concerned that people I care about will face hardships around immigration issues. I need to pray more now and I need to be ready and willing to contribute more financially when needs arise. Part of the joy of working hard should be the joy of being able to give more. Raising my voice with millions of others on Saturday was a privilege and a great start, but ultimately it is my actions that will create a movement that makes the difference we all long for. I am interested to hear what actions others have been inspired to take in the weeks ahead.
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