Why We March / by Sophie Schor

 Women Wage Peace, March of Hope, Jerusalem, October 2016.

Women Wage Peace, March of Hope, Jerusalem, October 2016.

Yesterday, the world rose up. 673 women-led marches sprung up from Antarctica to Washington.

The internet is teeming with images and text and videos and songs and memes and today, the day after, here comes the analysis.

I was unable to attend the march in my body (wisdom teeth removal, so a weekend of ultimate self-care filled with ice cream and binge watching of ‘The Crown’). But, I sat at home in Jerusalem, glued to my computer and my phone. Flicking between live-feeds, instant photos, news reports, friends’ text messages from D.C. and L.A. and New York and Tel Aviv, my mom’s photos from Denver, and Facebook: the energy was palpable. Even now, I close my eyes and see images of sign bearing, grinning women and men, pink hats, and crowds that do not end.

Hundreds of thousands of feet marching, walking, dancing, prancing, chanting, singing, yelling, smiling, laughing, traveling with a message.

Hundreds of thousands of feet from coast to coast, from continent to continent, marching with a purpose: to be heard.

The beauty of yesterday is the ultimate diversity of ideas and values that were brought together by a banner of inclusivity: equality, climate change, Black Lives Matter, access to abortion, wage-difference, indigenous rights, LGBTQIA rights and recognition; no to DAPL, to misogyny, to corruption, to rape culture, to separation of undocumented families; yes to embracing of Muslim communities, to standing against Occupation, to healthcare, to access to education, and to organizing unions. The issues brought to the streets were vibrant, were passionate, and were diverse—just like the lived experiences of every single person who was marching.

I watched the main stage in D.C. as an indigenous woman opened the ceremony with a song from her tradition, as black women sang their hopes and fears, as women took up space, as the past of feminism collided with today in all its glory. I listened with baited breath to role models Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem and began to repeat the names of new women who will lead us into tomorrow: Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Bob Bland, and the countless others who worked to make yesterday possible.

Yesterday was not just a march; it is a movement. Women of color are on the front-lines, they are speaking from the stage; it is time to listen.

I think back to that glorious day in October when 20,000 people marched to Jerusalem under the banner of Women Wage Peace (I wrote about it here on Jerusalem Post, and here on my blog). There is something radical about the love of women extending to all, across all borders, all political ideologies, all divisions. That love is frightening to some who do not wish to see a new order, a new world, a new day dawn. It is wildly powerful and exciting.

But in order for a movement to rise, to grow, to monitor, to transform, it must keep working. That anger that fires up and inspires one woman who has never joined a protest before to get on a plane and pick up a sign, that anger cannot dissipate because we marched and yelled and screamed for one day. That anger must continue, must charge forward, must motivate to picking up the phone tomorrow, or committing to attending a meeting, or deciding to run for office, or deciding to start that uncomfortable conversation with ourselves about oppression. We must wake up every day and challenge our previous conceptions of where we are from and where we are going.

The movement begins again today. March on.

 Women Wage Peace, March of Hope, Jerusalem, October 2016

Women Wage Peace, March of Hope, Jerusalem, October 2016