There’s been a fair amount of backlash over people who chose to not participate in the Women’s March or the related gatherings, and I think most of us are aware of this. The thing is, participating or not participating is everyone’s personal choice. If those of us who marched are respected by others, then we need to also respect those who make choices that aren’t in line with what we believe in. Those individuals who didn’t attend may have had reasons we aren’t aware of, or they may not agree with what they believe the Women’s March. While there might be misunderstandings around what the goals of the marches were, and as much as I see the beauty in empowering one another and raising awareness as a group, it’s important to practice respect, no matter what. This goes for everyone. I may not agree with your opinions, but if you respect me, and if you respect others, and if you respect your surroundings, then I will respect you.
In terms of the Women’s March, practicing what we preach every day of the year, has greater value than just attending one event. It’s very easy to forget the inspiration you felt, on the other three hundred and sixty four days of the year, and it’s easy to just start counting down until the next time you’ll feel motivated. While I don’t want to dismiss the experiences that so many people, including myself, feel when we come together as a whole, the real marching forward happens on those in-between days. The real work happens when you change the little things in your daily routine, and when you push yourself to keep moving, even when there aren’t hundreds of others who are with you, and the world isn’t always watching.
The amount of people that I have encountered, many of whom are disengaged, apathetic, or negative, has taught me that caring about something is better than caring about nothing at all. As long as we’re acting and reacting with the ground rule of respect, it will pay off a hundredfold when you stand up for what you believe in. By practicing that respect, you’re caring. By thinking critically and empathetically, about everything around you, you’re caring. By marching forward, on and after the third weekend in January, you’re caring. Activism isn’t just about shouting messages about a better world to everyone, and it doesn’t ever have to be about that. Activism is about respecting others, opening your mind, and caring. And doing so every, single day.
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Our thoughts are with those in the Amazon whose homes and livelihoods will be affected by the roads going through the forest. We also send love, solidarity and support to those who have fought every single day of the best world in order to ensure a better world. We hope that everyone will think, act and react with kindness, empathy and a sense of justice going forward, and we pledge to do the same. We pledge to be mindful of events occurring, to be grateful for our safety, to share the stories of our fellow humans, and take action wherever we can to prevent further crises from occurring.