On Jan. 21, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people will march through our nation’s capitol.
The Women’s March on Washington, D.C., started with a Facebook page, and once again showing the power of social media, the idea grew into a movement.
The idea from the start has been to challenge Trump’s administration. According to the event’s website, womensmarch.com, “the rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, deomonized and threatened many of us — immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, black and brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault — and our communities are hurting and scared.”
The goal, the website states, is to send a message to Trump on his first day in office that women’s rights are human rights. And women standing together recognize that “defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
According to The New York Times, law enforcement authorities are planning for a crowd that could swell to more than 400,000 people.
Whether you agree with the cause or not, the Women’s March on Washington reminds those paying attention of the many marchers who have come before.
On the day before Woodrow Wilson was sworn in, the Woman Suffrage March included 5,000 people. Other marches over the years included participants exercising their freedom of speech both for and against the Ku Klux Klan.
In March 1963, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took center stage. The major civil rights march included around 250,000 people and featured Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Throughout the 1960s, several marches included participants seeking an end to the war in Vietnam.
One protest, the Tractorcade, included 6,000 or so farmers who drove their tractors to Washington, D.C., to protest American farm policies.
The list goes on, and on.
Peaceful assembly isn’t a new concept, and it’s one treasured in the U.S. — from the few who gather on Grinnell Plaza regularly to advocate peace, to the hundreds of thousands expected in Washington, D.C., in just a few days.
Leonardo da Vinci said, “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”
Centuries later, the legendary Bob Marley sang, “Get up, stand up; stand up for your rights.”
The sentiment has remained true despite the test of time.
Whether you love the ideas of the incoming administration, or fear the rhetoric takes us a step backward, we likely can all agree that we, as a country, can do better.
How will you serve that mission? How will you help make America better? Get up, stand up.