March of the Fearless Girls
The first time I really learned the importance and significance of International Women’s Day was back in 2011 when I was studying abroad in Rome. Every museum, monument and wine shop was free for women and there were celebrations in the streets. I remember thinking it was awesome—the solidarity, the appreciation, the opportunity to be recognized.
I hadn't realized that feeling since — until I joined the March on Washington Square Park yesterday. There were 100 reasons I wanted to strike and stand with my fellow woman — for the women who fear for their health, for the women pressed up against that glass ceiling, for the women who fight to be seen as women, and for the women who count their plights on more than two hands.
The rally before the march lasted two hours under the arch of the park, and it featured speakers across races, religions, causes and passions. The conversations, songs and stories told left no group of women unrecognized and no problem left undiscussed. I overheard a young woman say this was the most inclusive conversation they had ever been a part of. Amidst the plethora of women of the world and my fellow women of McCann, I searched for a way to connect myself to this group of people who stood united as a single front, yet all with different voices and issues. When there is more than one fight to battle, struggles you may not personally know, how do make your voice heard?
An activist for the Black Lives Matters movement performed a spoken word that spoke so clearly to this question and to the unity that really binds us all:
- We are all descendants of women. Male, female, black, purple, or poor, life was given to us and sustained by a woman. In the same way we worry about the water we drink or the air we breathe, we should all be concerned about the lives that give life—the people who create the next president, the next doctor with a cure, or the next generation of women who bare life. No one person needs to experience a particular struggle in order to care about the solution, for we should all recognize the consequence. Without women, our society would literally be extinct.
- We all have a time or place where we feel like the other. Everyone has been faced with the struggle where they aren’t the norm, and must face the preconceived notions that come when you are seen as “the other” person. In small or large proportions, we all fight our otherness daily — in the workplace, in our families, in our cities — no one person is foreign to discrimination. It’s when we deny our otherness that we forget, at a basic level, we all understand one another.
These points were the fundamentals the collective learned yesterday, and the guiding force that propelled thousands of women to strike, wear red, and march down to Zuccotti Park. If we are to start with only one day to have these lessons learned and heard, we better make our presence known so that the impact lasts in our absence.
Photos by Alex Goldklang
Photos by Katie Henry