January 20th, 2018 marked the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March, the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Beyond pussy hats and posters, we reflect: how has the women’s march progressed the conversations of privilege and complicity?
But for many others, the march is another reminder of the shortcomings of the modern day’s movement ability to center the voices of those marginalized most.
If there’s one thing the Women’s March of 2017 showed us, it was the ability for a march to become a mainstream movement. But a sentiment for many was the Women’s March overlooking issues such as racism, discrimination, police brutality, LGBTQ inclusivity, and immigration in favor of issues that matter most to straight, white, middle-class women.
Or, the fact that “No Arrests Made At Peaceful Women’s March In Washington” were among the headlines of 2017 March: a step in the right direction when individuals are allowed to exercise their right to protest without being harmed or detained, but eyebrow-raising when we consider that predominantly older white women attended the march. White women in pink hats are seldom met with riot police, whereas peaceful protests organized minorities, whether that’s Black Lives Matter or Standing Rock, are nearly always met with hostility and militarization.
So while the Women’s March may continue to be a space for sisterhood for many, does its palatability point to more deeper-set issues?
It’s easy to talk about sisterhood.
What’s not so easy to talk about: privilege, and our complicity in larger systems of inequality.
With the 2018 Women’s March now behind us, it’s important to confront our relationship with privilege and complicity in larger systems of inequality.
It’s easy to say that we’ve survived a year with Trump.
What’s not so easy to talk about: those who didn’t.
So, as we march on to 2018, let’s talk about the oppression and threats to their rights that prompted so many white women to make their voices heard during the first Women’s March, and consider the realities for underrepresented women whose voices are seldom centered.
This isn’t about pointing fingers and planting division within the movement.
A theme of the Women’s March has always been the importance of inclusion and intersectionality, and being accountable to and responsible for one another.
The Women’s March is a platform to come together. But don’t let your activism end there. To be a part of an inclusive movement, folks need to personalize the fight for racial justice. If you don’t see your own freedom tied to other’s freedom, then we don’t need you in this fight.