Sustaining the Momentum of the Women's March: Where We Go From Here

Andrea Cristina Mercado marches in the Women's March in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2017. (Photo: Jill Shenker / National Domestic Workers Alliance)Andrea Cristina Mercado marches in the Women’s March in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2017. (Photo: Jill Shenker / National Domestic Workers Alliance)

This weekend I marched in Washington, DC, with my younger sister, in a contingent with hundreds of immigrant women, women of color, domestic workers, Native American women, and grassroots environmental activists. Like so many who attended the Women’s March, I was awestruck to see the sheer size of the march, the number of women who mobilized — many of whom had never before attended a march — to proclaim their commitment to fight back against attacks on our bodies, our families, our communities and the planet. It was an outpouring of bold opposition.

I witnessed a powerful appetite for action: the desire to not just talk about it, but to put ourselves — our bodies — on the front lines of opposition. More than 700 women gathered immediately after the march for a Women’s Town Hall. Exhausted from hours of walking and chanting, but energized by the momentum and spirit of resistance, we got to work. We started to answer the question: where do we go from here?

For those of us who are committed social justice activists or organizers, the sheer scale of this march was awe-inspiring. It gives us hope, a necessary antidote to despair. And this is no time for despair.

The election broke my heart. It was personal. As the daughter of immigrants, I came to social justice activism by organizing for immigrant, worker and women’s rights. I knocked on doors, did hours of outreach, called meetings that almost no one came to, and planned vigils and marches, with mixed success. I enjoyed hard-earned victory, and suffered defeat. Getting people to come out to a public action like a march is hard work, and then sometimes, something shifts, and popular consciousness erupts. This is why it’s critical to keep inspiring more people to get involved.

As organizers, it is our job to engage new people, to grow our numbers and build people power for…

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