This is a collaborative post from both Teena and Ranaa of Real Women Talk of our time at the Women’s March in Phoenix, Arizona on January 21st.
Here’s is Teena’s take:
As a woman, married with 3 kids my “PUSSY” is not up for grabs. I cannot believe I am talking like this but because of the current president, this has become a major topic of discussion. I have never been that person who discusses my political views or wants to debate about it. I will be completely honest with you I could care less about politics altogether. During my senior year of high school, I remember having to take Political Science as it was a requirement which meant if I did not pass the class I would not graduate. I remember doing just enough to pass the class with a “C” because I just didn’t care about politics.
Leading up to the November 2016 election
Let’s fast forward to our 2016 election year. As I remember hearing that Donald Trump was running for President I distinctly recall laughing to myself like “yeah, ok” and didn’t put much thought into. I said to myself “there is no way that he would be elected and become our President”. As time went on all these different allegations were coming forward about Donald Trump and his lewd comments towards women. The allegations were so outrageous I just knew this man was done and we had nothing to worry about.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 I was watching TV and they announced Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election I was emotionless. It was the strangest feeling ever. I had no comment about it and I felt like what he did would not have an effect too much on me personally. I was disappointed in my country for electing a person that has exposed his hand to who he was. Yet and still people voted for him? I guess it is safe to say I DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM!!!
The most disheartening part of it all was the number of WOMEN that voted for him. I wish I could speak to a woman that voted for him so I can hear her reason with an open heart and understand the place she was in when she voted for him. I would also like to ask her does she still feel that same way?
I wanted my daughter to witness this day
Recently there was a Women’s March that was taking place around the country and Ranaa, my blog partner asked me if I would be interested in going. I was hesitant. Mainly because she is not that girl (referring to myself) and even writing this blog post is a big step for me. I WENT, and I really felt empowered to write about it after attending this year’s Women’s March. My experience at the Women’s March was AMAZING! I brought my 5-year-old daughter to the march with me too as I felt it was important for her to see that we as women are strong and have a voice that needs to be heard.
This was my first time going to any sort of event like this. I was not sure what to expect. This woman was blown away. The outpouring of women and men was uplifting to see. To see that we all felt the same way about what is going on in our country currently was encouraging. I felt like for once there was more unity among us then there had been in many years or if EVER.
There were men that were marching that were just as equally upset with things that Donald Trump has said. There were LGBTQ marchers that were outraged by things that have been said. Most importantly there were women from babies to elderly out there with their signs marching too. We were all in unity regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation it did not matter to any of us. We were there for one reason and that was to bring the awareness of how important it is to vote in the midterm elections. This was an eye-opening experience. It reminded me that it is my responsibility to get out and vote and encourage others to do the same. Now I am not saying I am totally into politics but I will say I am WOKE!
Last year when I heard about the women’s marches I honestly was annoyed as my understanding of the purpose of the march last year was in protest of the inauguration of 45. I felt was pointless to show their opposition as what was done was done. However, when I saw the turnout of the marches in cities across the country on t.v. I was concerned maybe I had missed the point as I felt I had missed out on a movement and told myself that I would participate the next year. I am so glad Teena and decided to go as it was an eye opening experience.
Here were some highlights for me:
Signs of ‘wokeness’
Upon walking up to the State Capitol I still had a little bit of hesitation as I was a bit nervous if folks were going to act right or if it was even going to be corny. I kid you not, upon five seconds of finding the spot we were all going to hang out I was met with a gentlemen who was holding a sign that hit close to home for me and I knew I was going to be alright. He had combined an iconic line from the iconic movie Ghost and an iconic song “Formation” by Beyonce on the back.
Where I live is a big ol’ melting pot and quite honestly the polls (which we now know mean absolutely nothing) had projected that we would turn to a purple state by 2017. I think I was reminded of the beauty Arizona holds as we live in a city where people come from all across the country and as a result have many different viewpoints. I kinda forgot that and it was refreshing to see folks that were unified in their frustrations with systemic oppression from the past and that are facing us today.
The number of optimistic people
Everyone that we came across was so pleasant at the women’s march. We ran into people who were giving free hugs away to folks letting me take pictures of their signs multiple times and then calling the rest of my crew over so that they could take pictures as well. In Phoenix, there were approximately 22,000 people that participated in this years women’s march. I think we all had the intent to gather together to orchestrate change going forward as we are optimistic things will change for the better.
Of course what goes up must come down. Here were some low-lights for me:
Lack of Phoenix dignitaries
I think this would have been a great opportunity especially for some of the women candidates running for Arizona Senate such as Deedra Abbound (D) or Krysten Sinema (R) to speak to the women (and men) of this state and show that fighting for women’s rights is a bipartisan effort. I would have especially have loved to have heard from the first female police chief of the city of Phoenix, Jeri Williams. We are one of the largest cities that have both a female police chief and a fire chief, Kara Kalkbrenner. I think these two women could definitely teach us all a thing or two about breaking glass ceilings and taking names! These ladies are just to name a few that I would have been interested in seeing. (Perhaps in some of these cases there was a conflict of interest that I have taken that into account but can a girl dream).
Lack of diversity
One of the biggest criticisms I had heard of the marches last year were that they focused on cis Caucasian women and excluded underrepresented groups. These groups that I am connected to that are faced with issues such as racism, discrimination, immigration, LGBTQ rights, and even police brutality which are all something we have felt we are threatened due to the new administration. The speakers at the Phoenix women’s march were multi-racial. I can’t speak to the ethnicity of the organizers. So I have reached out to an organizer to see if there is any way Real Women Talk 2 can help in any capacity with next years march.
I am hoping more women of color show up next year. I also am hoping more women bring their husbands/fathers/brothers as well as we need the help from the important men in our lives to help drive the policies we would like implemented in government and in the workplace.
Where do we go from here?
1. Vote! Participate in your local midterm elections that will occur in November 2018 and vet out the candidates that do not believe in women’s rights
2. Get involved locally in groups and organizations and speak to your elected officials or network with other people that believe in equality for women.
3. Speak out against all injustices. As Martin Luther King Jr is quoted “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Don’t condone bad behavior by staying silent.
4. Join together. Women need to help women first before we can ever expect men to do so next. For example, 51% of the workforce is made up of women. There is no reason women shouldn’t feel safe in the workplace and do not feel they have supportive circles of other women in which they can confide in.
The video was shot and edited by Alex Chambers (IG: Chambers_Cinefilms) who was so kind enough to join us at the march and document this historic day.
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