Continued involvement after protests brings change

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

The Women’s March that rocked the earth the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump exhibited the power that individuals — especially women — have to make their voices heard. The crowds made history as they gathered across the country and the world, including an estimated 50,000 in the city of Austin alone. But one question came to the minds of many once the march was over: Now what? Some feared that there would not be enough momentum after the march to any actual change.

In answer to this, the women who organized the Women’s March created a program meant to keep the movement going. Their initiative “10 Actions/100 Days” encourages further involvement in our government through a variety of activities, including attending workshops, town hall meetings and other marches. Such actions are crucial in the success of any long term goals of the women’s movement and can serve as a model for any other movement. Protesting at the Women’s March felt good and built a sense of community among those who shared the same feelings of frustration, but in the end the march doesn’t really matter if no further action is taken. 

The most recent action involved writing postcards to Congressional representative. Groups across Austin held sessions in various places across town where people came together to write to their senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Writing postcards allows for constituents to air their grievances and express their wants individually. For those who do not like the idea of sending in a piece of paper that likely will not be read, there are ways to engage in a more physical. Go to a city council meeting, volunteer for causes that are of interest, or even organize a voter registration drive. 

Many women of color, transgender women, and others felt that the Women’s March lacked intersectionality, and focused mainly on the plight of white, cisgender women. While this was not the intention of the organizers, who come from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds, the effect was felt all the same. This is not meant to exclude or draw lines based on race, but to remind people that we cannot all succeed if we do not invest ourselves in the issues that affect everyone. Moving forward, everyone involved in the women’s movement needs to not only advocate for issues that affect them personally, but for those that affect every woman from every background. 

If an individual or group has their own ideas about how to take action over the next 100 days and into the future, the Women’s March website offers step-by-step instructions and advice on how to start their own “huddle” or action group in their area. This could be particularly useful for individuals at UT, who can organize and tackle issues with like-minded students. 

Continuing involvement in the government is necessary in order to continue the conversation between elected officials and those whom they must answer to. Pictures can be taken and sweep the Internet for a few weeks following a protest, but the worst thing that can happen afterwards is for everyone to go home and never speak up again. 

 

Sanchez is a journalism freshman from Austin. Follow her on Twitter @narwhalieee.