We marched in Albany on Saturday, January 21, 2017 in support of the Women's March on Washington and the sister marches that took place all over the world. The vibe was peaceful, hopeful, determined, positive. There were lots of kids and people from all walks of life.
Why did we march?
Like it or not, there was a lot of troubling rhetoric in the campaign that made many groups of people feel like their rights are at risk. Women, LGBTQ, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, the disabled, the list goes on. So we marched in solidarity with these groups. For our clients. For ourselves. For our kids. For our neighbors.
Why aren't we waiting for the new administration or Congress to take concrete action on these issues before we march?
Because we're sending a message. Because why wait until it's too late? Because some action has already been taken and it's troubling for many, including for individuals who voted for President Trump.
Because, maybe, when the administration sees an outpouring of support for the LGBTQ community, existing Department of Labor rules protecting sexual orientation and transgender individuals will be left alone. Maybe they won't interfere with the EEOC's activism on sexual orientation discrimination. Maybe they will support legislation to amend Title VII to include sexual orientation. Maybe they will leave executive orders on discrimination by federal contractors alone.
Because, maybe, when they see support for stronger women's workplace rights with respect to equal pay, pregnancy and paid family leave, they will make that a priority. Are there women who believe they already have equal rights? Sure. But that doesn't mean laws can't be strengthened or that we shouldn't identify loopholes and areas where there is no protection – like accommodations for pregnancy-related conditions.
Because we want to show how many of us care about healthcare and reproductive rights. Who care about equality in the justice system.
Because, even if you haven't seen it or experienced it in your own life, in our practice, we see the real life consequences of racism, sexism, ageism, disability and national origin discrimination, and every other –ism and form of bias you can think of. It happens. It's not a made up concern. And losing one's job because of discrimination can have serious ramifications in every facet of someone's life. So, we march for our clients.
When we hear that marching is pointless or is not the same as taking action, we say that using your voice is action. Stepping outside your comfort zone to stand up for others or for yourself or your children is action. And, of course, many who marched have been taking more concrete “action” since the day after the election – by donating money, joining organizations, making plans to run for office, volunteering, calling our representatives, organizing, or – in our case – refocusing some of our areas of practice.
Parting thought. We get that there are people out there seeing these marches who are feeling defensive. Feeling like the marches are sending you a message that you don't care – particularly to other women that you don't care about women's rights or you're not supporting the sisterhood. To them we say, these marches are not anti-you. For many they are not even anti-Trump. They are pro-the causes and the individuals who have been threatened.
Because we talk to people from all walks of life and political standpoints on a daily basis as part of our job, we get that there are supporters of President Trump who care about equal rights, who care about women's rights, who have gay friends and have joyfully attended same-sex weddings, who are themselves immigrants and people of color. Especially in the age of social media, everything can seem so black and white. There's no room to have diverse opinions or points of view anymore. We are libtards and snowflakes. You are racist pussy grabbers.
Well, to our family, friends and clients who voted for President Trump, we say march with us. If not literally, then in spirit by speaking out in favor of the causes championed by the Women's March that you do care about. And we will do our part to give credit when credit is due.