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America Awakening

Three weeks have passed since the historic Women’s March on Washington and several things are clear—radical change is underway in America and an impassioned unified response is rising (see additional images here.)

One hand-lettered sign of the thousands carried at the historic march I attended in Washington, DC on January 21, 2017 seemed to capture the spirit of what transpired there and at sister marches around the globe that day:

“I’m no longer accepting things I can not change. I’m changing things I can not accept.” (Angela Davis)

On the day following the Inauguration of America’s 45th president, Donald Trump, more than 5 million people worldwide declared what they view as unacceptable, what they are willing to stand up for and how they intend to do it—in solidarity with others.

The Women’s March focused initial attention on issues related to women’s rights, although it embraced much more, asserting that women’s rights are human rights and welcoming other voices.

As stated on its website: “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, 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. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. . . . We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

The marches transpired with a kind of sweeping grace and point-on passion that played across multiple platforms, expressed on anything from banners to baby carriages, from clothing to hand-crafted pink “Pussyhats” (www.pussyhatproject.com) that proved so popular their visual impact created floods of pulsating color coursing through the venous streets of major cities across America.

The potential of millions waking to the possibilities of amplifying their individual power in combination with others points to a movement away from complacency and toward the driving force that makes change possible—action. President Trump has promised to “Make America Great Again.” Ironically, that may be happening, not in the way he intended, but by stirring those who oppose his administration’s policies, to act on what is most important now—mobilizing to walk our talk.

And so we began with massive marching, marked with a sense of unity that was palpable, passionate and peaceful, from protestors to police forces. Multiple busses from the Upper Delaware River region—Wayne and Pike counties in Pennsylvania and Sullivan County in New York—made their way to join 1,200 other permitted busses in Washington, DC alone. That’s in addition to the uncounted number of folks who journeyed to marches by their own means of travel, including a well-attended march in nearby Port Jervis, New York.

Since returning home, conversations are continuing about how to keep things moving. Locally, groups have formed to discuss and identify ongoing efforts. Individually, anyone interested in working for change can check out the following:

• “10 Actions for the First 100 Days” (www.WomensMarch.com)

• “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda” (www.IndivisibleGuide.com)

• Action Together Northeastern Pennsylvania (www.facebook.com/ActionTogether.NEPA)

• Alt National Park Service, a Facebook page established in response to the silencing of official National Park Service social media accounts by the new administration (www.facebook.com/AltUSNationalParkService)

In the three weeks since Donald Trump took office, change is coming, fast and hard. But in a true display of America’s greatness, everyday people are rising in unity to reclaim their government—by the people and for the people. Marches and resistance movements continue to multiply, as across the country and around the world, we are finding our way forward, together.

[View my photos and videos of the Women’s March on Washington here.  Photos and videos of the Women’s March on New York City by Krista Gromalski.]

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