March

At this year’s Women’s March I started from the end. By that I mean, I stood on the steps of the Capitol and awaited the arrival of the Marchers. I talked with the folks setting up tables and collected information and anecdotes from them. As we watched the crowd come up and fill the street in front of us, my heart was full (in Sacramento our March was larger than last year’s 20K. It swelled to 36K). I leaned over to my 12 year old grandson and whispered, “One day you will tell your grandchild, ‘I was there. My mom and grandmother brought me and I saw the crowd of women standing up for themselves.’ And you will understand.”

What did my grandson see? Young women, old women, LGBTQ folks, women in all shades, women with hijabs, women with ball caps, with fancy pink hats, with babies, with children……. But he also saw men. My son, his uncle was also with us and we saw men who there to support women. Men who were not ashamed to walk in a sea of pink. Men who carried signs in awareness of the issues their mothers, daughters, wives, partners, friends, and co-workers who deal with sexual nonsense every damn day. One particularly poignant sight was a father pushing his daughter in a stroller, walking with his wife and holding a sign.

What do the Women’s March, #metoo (https://twitter.com/hashtag/MeToo) and #timesup (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23TimesUp&src=tyah) have in common? Women, of course, but men too. Because every woman has a man in her life and those who stand up with them, beside them and behind are necessary for us to achieve true equal rights, in the same way that minorities need white people to stop being blind and learn to understand and support their battle with inequality. How many women have been afraid to talk about their #metoo moment? How many women have gone home to husbands who shrugged their shoulders when they told them about a male co-worker harassing them? Or law enforcement that didn’t take them seriously? We, women, are going to keep pushing and it would make the pushing less problematic if the men in our lives took us seriously and also pushed back. I’m NOT suggesting men should be our knight in shining armor and gallop to our rescue, I am suggesting that men walk WITH us, together for the common good of equality for us. I am asking men to talk back to their buddies and tell them, “Hey, let’s stop talking about girlfriends like they are piece of meat.” I’m asking men to recognize that every time they are silent while they know that bosses are harassing female employees to speak just as loudly as we are. I’m asking men to stop looking away; asking them to stand on the steps and watch with pride as women walk up the street asking for the same equality that they have, the same opportunities, the same chances and the same potential as they have. I am asking men to come down and join us in the streets, in the Capitol buildings, in the work place, in the home and fight with us instead of watching from the side line.

My son who is now 29 took a Women’s History class in college because all the other history classes were full. After a few weeks, he came home and said, “Mom, I am learning so much, I had NO IDEA what women have been going through! On behalf of all men through history, I apologize.” (Have I mentioned how much I love my son?)

The Women’s Marches are about women and the issues we are still dealing with in the 21st Century; rights, respect, equality and opportunity. We are going to continue to be out there but it would help if our fathers, brothers, husbands, uncles, and male co-workers walked with us instead of just looked on.

I would have liked to have had insight into my grandson’s mind while he was there, maybe he was bored (we did give him the option to stay home) was he interested, what will he take away from the event? It could be years before I know the answer. I do know one thing, I will be there next year and the years after that until we get this right.

Deborah Baron

Deborah Baron

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