Sunday, January 22, 2017

Waterbury at the Women's Marches

I'm doing something a little different with this post. I wasn't able to attend the Women's March yesterday, but I noticed many of my friends did. I reached out to some Waterbury people who went and asked them to share photos of the event and their reasons for attending. I want to make sure the Waterbury experience of this national historic event is preserved (because that's what historians do).

There's still time to participate in this blog post. If you're from Waterbury, send your photo(s) and reason for participating in the Women's March to waterburygirl@gmail.com and I will add them to the post. [Latest update: Tuesday, January 24, 2017]

Women's March in Hartford. Image courtesy of Robert Goodrich.




First, a statement of my own about the Women's March yesterday. Last year's presidential campaign was horrific. There were 20 candidates at the start, and the one who is now President, the one who is now arguably the most powerful person in the world, is a truly awful human being. His behavior is despicable, reprehensible, deplorable. We all heard the audio recording in which he joked about sexual assault, joked about forcing himself on women, joked about being able to do whatever he wants because he is famous. We all heard his comment about Megyn Kelly having "blood coming out of her wherever" to discredit her as a journalist. We all heard him voice his disgust at the thought that Hillary Clinton uses toilets, again trying to use a woman's bodily functions to discredit her intelligence and competency. Trump has a long history of belittling women for their physical appearance, of viewing women's worth solely in relation to their looks. He's joked about having sex with underage girls, and he's joked about wanting to have sex with his own daughter. He's been disgusted by breastfeeding, and bragged about the size of his penis during the presidential campaign. He attacked Ted Cruz's wife for not being as good-looking as his own wife. He blamed Hillary Clinton for Bill's philandering, insulting every woman who's ever been cheated on by their spouse or boyfriend. Donald Trump is the living embodiment of misogyny. (And that's not even getting into the blatant racism, bigotry, narcissism, greed, cruelty, and so on that he shared with us during the campaign and in the weeks following the election.)

Trump is like a horrible caricature of every awful old man I've ever encountered. And, yes, I've encountered quite a few. I've wasted time doing self-assessments after being told I would never find a man because I'm too intimidating/not submissive enough. I've listened to men mock the physical appearance of women involved in politics as if that determined their competence. I've smiled politely when Very Important Men have treated me like a child when I introduce myself as the Director of the organization hosting the event we're attending (saying "good for you!" and all but patting me on the head) and when men have deliberately excluded me from meetings that I really should have been invited to, but only men were invited to attend. I've put up with being called "darlin" by a man who loves to tell me I'm wrong when I'm actually right. I've grown accustomed to expecting that older men will assume that my opinion and expertise don't matter, and I've gotten in the habit of finding other ways to make them listen while accepting that they will first reprimand me for not playing by their rules before they finally hear what I have to say. I've been advised to use only my first initial and full last name for my creative work, because it's been proven over and over again that critics are instinctively dismissive if they know something was made by a woman. I've counseled young women to be more assertive after they try to hide their femininity by cutting off their hair and wearing pants in the vain hope that older men will stop sexually harassing them if they change their looks (even though the only thing that stops sexual harassment is teaching perpetrators to stop doing it).

When I heard that there would be a Women's March on January 21, I didn't need to read up on the platform of the organizers, and I really don't care which celebrity said what. When I heard about the event, I knew instantly that this was a march for every woman who has ever been subjected to the horrible behavior that President Elect Trump bragged about--which is probably every woman in the world. I was curious to see if there would be more people at the march in D.C. than at the inauguration, and I was thrilled to see the reports from the D.C. Metro system indicating that there may very well have been twice as many people for the march. I was amazed to see that marches were being held all over the world--at least 60 countries and all 7 continents. I almost started crying when I saw the scientists in Antarctica participating. People all over the entire planet stood up and declared that we will not tolerate abuse, bigotry, or oppression.


Women's March in Hartford. Image courtesy of Marie Baskerville.



Various groups have been quick to denigrate what happened yesterday. There are women complaining that they were excluded because they chose not to attend an event organized by groups who support a woman's right to choose what she does when she finds out she is pregnant. There are talking heads trying to claim that because two or three celebrity speakers made offensive statements, none of the voices of the other 3 million people who participated matter.

The Women's March wasn't about any one individual person. It wasn't about any one organization's platform. It was about millions of women, men, and children demanding respect, dignity, and equal rights.

The rest of this blog post is dedicated to the experiences of Waterbury people participated in the Women's March, in their own words and with their own images. I thank all of them for being willing to share their photographs and opinions with me.


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Women's March in Hartford. Image courtesy of Fatime Yusuf.


Sharon Rosenblatt

As a woman who unfortunately took feminism for granted, I realize it's my time to fight for the fundamental rights my mother and hers fought so hard for. I refuse to let complacency turn back decades of progress, and I'm here to make sure my children don't have to fight for something as basic as human rights.


Francesca Testa

As a public health student I participated to voice my concerns and support for health equity, health equality, and to support complete and non biased health coverage for all men, women, and children. We must continue to learn from history and progress as a community. 


Fatime Yusuf

I knew that my presence meant I was on the right side of history. Working with the mental health community has made me a strong supporter of human rights, and I know my presence and voice would be echoed so loudly today.

Women's March in Hartford. Image courtesy of Fatime Yusuf.


Women's March in Hartford. Image courtesy of Fatime Yusuf.


Women's March in Hartford. Image courtesy of Fatime Yusuf.


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Angélica Huertas

I march because…

I consider the lives of marginalized people important.

There is always a backlash in response to social movements. We have made progress in terms of LGBT rights, women’s rights, civil rights, and we are now on the defensive. People who have been in a position of comparative privilege, whether realizing it or not, are afraid that they are losing something if “others” gain, because they have been convinced that it is a zero sum game.

We are protecting the progress we’ve made and hoping to minimize the damage done by someone who has pledged to limit access to reproductive care, restrict the immigration of specifically brown people, in addition to normalizing racism, misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and proudly perpetuating racial profiling.

We are protesting, not because he ran as a Republican, not because we disagree on policy, but because there is no coherent policy, except what comes from those who surround him. We are making it known that we will not be quiet. We will not accept scraps. We will demand more. We will demand that the promise of “America” is kept, whether or not it disturbs the status quo, or makes people uncomfortable. As people that are all too often forgotten or set aside, we have to assert ourselves, now more than ever.

Our new president has made it clear through his own policy positions, and with whom he surrounds himself, that he has certain priorities, none of which seem beneficial to people of color, poor people, women, and those who identify as LGBTQ.

Protests will be carried out by whatever means possible. Those in power will always take issue with the means of protest, peaceful or otherwise, because we are standing for something that is inherently antithetical to their interests.

We have to stay vigilant.

“The Master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” ~ Audre Lorde

Women's March in NYC. Image courtesy of Angélica Huertas.


Women's March in NYC. Image courtesy of Angélica Huertas.

Women's March in NYC. Image courtesy of Angélica Huertas.


Women's March in NYC. Image courtesy of Angélica Huertas.

Women's March in NYC. Image courtesy of Angélica Huertas.



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Maybeth Morales-Davis

I was part of history today. My 2 boys, ages 1 and 6, were part of history today. As we reached the capitol, I reflected on the exact reason why only 1 hour before the rally was to begin, I decided my boys and I needed to be present - the reason is simple: my boys. Their futures, their kids futures and most of all their respect for equality, woman's rights and social justice. I want them to speak up when they see injustices being done to anyone. I want them to understand the power of protest and solidarity. I want the best for them and that means they must understand what it means to walk in another's footsteps. I'm proud they were by my side today; they may not have understood exactly why but, they felt the love in the air and will understand it all soon enough.

Maybeth Morales-Davis at the Women's March in Hartford
with her nephew Judah, mother May, and sons Temari and Matemi.
Image courtesy of Maybeth Morales-Davis.


Waterbury women at the Women's March in Hartford. Image courtesy of Maybeth Morales-Davis.


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Robert Goodrich

Trump's election troubles me deeply. His election as POTUS could lead to the normalization of patriarchy as well as xenophobia. Preventing that is very important. Therefore, as a white male I need to make solidarity with women, the LGBTQIA community, and communities of color a priority. I do that by becoming an ally by standing silently in support of their efforts to achieve equity or carrying out directives that their communities feel I'm best suited for. 

Women's March in Hartford. Image courtesy of Robert Goodrich.

Women's March in Hartford. Image courtesy of Robert Goodrich.



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Roseanne Shea

I marched Saturday at the Women's March on Washington to add my voice to the millions of voices around this country and around the world. We stand for a world that works for everyone with no one left out or excluded. We stand for women's rights and the rights of all races, all genders all sexual orientations, all religions, people of all abilities and ages to live freely in equanimity. We stand for prioritizing human beings over money, for transparency and accountability in government, and for the preservation of our environment. No corporation, no billionaires and no foreign government should have power over our democracy. I have never called myself an activist before, but I feel I can no longer sit back in complacency and expect others to save us from the policies and actions of the current administration. In me an activist has been born and I expect, millions more have been born across the globe. Being part of the march gives me pride in our country which I had lost November 9th. It gives me faith in our people and hope for a return to a government that represents the majority, if not sooner, then in 4 years. This very bad thing has led to the best thing, people claiming their power to change the world, and unifying for our common principles.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Roseanne Shea.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Roseanne Shea.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Roseanne Shea.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Roseanne Shea.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Roseanne Shea.

Pussyhats at the Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Roseanne Shea.
[editorial note: The pussyhats are a direct response to Trump's boasting of grabbing women by the pussy.
They are also an example of how social media can boost grassroots organizing,
as many people learned about them through Facebook posts.]

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Roseanne Shea.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Roseanne Shea.

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Helen Taylor


I traveled to D.C. to participate in the Women's March. It was an amazing experience with such a diverse peaceful crowd. I marched to show my solidarity with my sisters (and brothers) to let the current administration know that we will not settle for injustice and we will fight for human rights.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Helen Taylor.



Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Helen Taylor.


Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Helen Taylor.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Helen Taylor.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Helen Taylor.

Women's March in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy of Helen Taylor.




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Women's March in NYC. Image courtesy of Angélica Huertas.

1 comment:

H2oburyrose said...

Thank you Rachel for your blog and giving us a voice. Something is rotten in Washington and must be sniffed out and cleaned up.