by Randi Milgram, London, DAUK
On January 21, an unstoppable wave of hope and strength rose to resist the dark shadows of the preceding day. Once Donald Trump was officially inaugurated, many Americans felt disheartened and dejected, fearful that our values would be thrown aside. But then decent people all over the globe joined together to rise up, refusing to accept inequality and injustice in our democracy. In France, in Peru, in Macau, in South Africa, people of all ages, genders, races, and national origins stood as one band of solidarity against hate and for equality.
All over the world, citizens of numerous countries joined together with Americans in the first Global Women’s March, proving that millions of people with the same values will stand and fight for democracy, justice, and equal rights for all. Members of the Women’s Caucus of Democrats Abroad helped bring the enormous event to life in locations around the globe. Thousands upon thousands gathered in Brussels, Amsterdam, Brasilia, Mexico, Auckland, and even Antarctica. Just as in the epicenter of the Washington, D.C. march, with crowds breaking all estimates by the hundreds of thousands, most foreign cities showed turnout beyond all expectations as more and more people stood together to show support for women’s rights, gay rights, and equal justice. In London, the DA Women’s Caucus group marched proudly up front with other organizers as the crowds swiftly grew from the estimated 20,000 up to 100,000. In Paris, the crowd of thousands circled famous tourist destinations as residents and tourists alike joined to support women and girls.
The sources of inspiration were endless, from the many men who showed their support and willingness to fight for equal rights, to the many families who brought their small children, as it’s their world we are fighting to protect and improve. Common refrains were shared throughout various cities, with most participants stating that the massive show of solidarity among marchers provided the first feeling of optimism, the first smile, since Election Night. Many others said that this groundswell of grassroots activism is what will protect America from destructive policies.
Indeed, activists are acutely aware that the incredible momentum that built up to the epic march must be sustained, difficult as it will be, in order to effectively contest the aggressively undemocratic movements attempted by this administration. But the March proved to us that we are ready for the fight, that we are strong in number and resilient in will. Simply the sheer numbers of likeminded fellow marchers, no matter what city you were in, inspired us all to keep fighting, to keep making calls and writing emails, and keep marching on the right side of history.
To that effect, members of Democrats Abroad, and the Women’s Caucus in particular, are busily working to put all of this energy and goodwill into action. Several projects underway include an expat version of the superb Indivisible guide to activism and narrowly focused mass calls to Congress. The next date to keep your eye on is March 8 – International Women’s Day. This day of action for gender parity will use the tag “Be Bold For A Change” and advocate for women to promote themselves in work or private life. Keep an eye on the Women’s Caucus Facebook page and website for more information about how to mark this exciting day and about other upcoming projects.