Three is a magic number.
There have been three Women’s Marches.
Before each of these marches, there were outer events that had profound impacts on our collective awareness.
Each of these three outer events show us guideposts that help answer a crucial question: how do we become active participants in the Women’s March movement?
The first event was the election of Donald Trump in November 2016.
Trump was the misogynist, racist, hate-mongering straw that broke the camel’s back. He clearly showed us the rotten core of our modern society, and the abuses of power and privilege of white men like him.
What had been hidden was now visible. With this visibility comes choice: do you succumb or do you resist?
A group of women activists in the US chose resistance. From the organizing efforts of these women, the Women’s March was born on January 22, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Trump.
This is the first guidepost in becoming an active participant in the Women’s March movement.
Yes is a potent magical word. When you say yes, you invite change into your life.
So it was with the first Women’s March. With this yes of collective resistance, the March became a movement.
The second event was the birth of the #metoo movement.
It was Tarana Burke, an American social activist, who came up with the metoo phrase in 2006. Then on October 15, 2017, the actress Alyssa Milano shared the metoo hashtag to encourage victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment to share their stories. Within 24 hours, the hashtag had been used by more than 4.7 million people. And it just got bigger and bigger from there.
The #metoo movement became an integral part of the January 2018 Women’s March. We now marched, with our allies by our side, not just as a protest against Trump but for women’s truth, safety and dignity.
This is the second guidepost in becoming an active participant in the Women’s March movement.
For those of you, like me, who have suffered sexual violence, I’m here to tell you that your #metoo stories have power. Claim them. Honor them. Share them, in whatever way feels safe and right for you.
For the men in our midst, we ask you to be our sacred witnesses — to let our stories move your heart, change your ways, and call you to our sides as allies in the dismantling of rape culture.
For everybody that has suffered from the hatred and abuses of racism, homophobia, and transphobia, your stories of wounding are essential to the Women’s March movement, and its fight for justice and equality for everyone.
The third event was the birth of the #toomuchwoman movement.
It began in Toronto, with a delicious, passionate speech by Gina Hatzis called: I’m a Dangerous Woman. A video of this speech, along with the toomuchwoman hashtag, went viral in September 2018, reaching 16 million people, and a new, worldwide movement was born.
This same #toomuchwoman message is loud and clear in the vision statement for the
2019 Women’s March: We are strategic, we are focused, and we are a threat to your grip on power. We are taking back what you have stolen. The Women’s Wave is coming, and we’re sweeping the world forward with us.
This is your third guidepost in becoming an active participant in the Women’s March movement.
This toomuch message expands beyond women, across all genders, to include every single one of us. It reminds you that you are beautiful and powerful beyond your wildest imagination. It tells you to reject the abusive, controlling messages of this culture that have made you small and afraid.
Let’s put these 3 guideposts together, and see how they answer the question: how do you become an active participant in the Women’s March movement?
By joining the 2019 Women’s March, you’ve already arrived at the first guidepost, some part of you has said yes to resistance, and has chosen to stand in solidarity with millions of others in sister marches across the US and around the world.
This is the first step in becoming an active participant in the Women’s March movement.
The second and third guideposts come next. With them, you have everything you need to play your own, special part in the Women’s March movement.
In your one hand, from the second guidepost, you hold your stories of wounding, be they #metoo stories or other stories of how you’ve been hurt by this culture.
In your other hand, from the third guidepost, are the power and gifts of your big, beautiful, too much self.
Now here is the most important part. If you’re like most of us, you’ve been trained to think that you are one thing or the other — either wounded and small, like the second guidepost, or big and beautiful, like the third guidepost. But this kind of thinking is a lie that keeps you from the powerful truth that you are all these things at once.
You start with yourself, your stories, your gifts, your heart, and then follow from there.
When we do this together, each sharing our wounded stories and special gifts, and widening our hearts to be sacred witnesses for others, we will be an unstoppable force of cultural change.
May these three guideposts help you deeply, truly show up and become an active, positive part of the Women’s March movement. And may we ride this Women’s Wave together, sweeping the world forward with us into a new culture of love, justice and equality for all.
Photo Credit: Jessica Podraza on Unsplash
Source: Karen Clark Speech, 2019 Women’s March, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada