Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Marched With Women For Everyone's Rights

I was proud to wear pink to promote
women's rights
On Saturday, January 21, 2017 I walked with dozens, maybe a hundred, thousand women in the Madison, WI Women's March to support their rights, and the rights of all. I walked with my wife, with her (our) friends, and coworkers, and with women and men, girls and boys, people from all over the state, from all walks of life.

Political views on some of the individual 'rights' in question aside, I just don't get  how anyone can think this type of showing of support for fellow human beings is not a noble, righteous, thing. (Such as a conversation I had with someone who claimed that women wouldn't need these rights if they just stayed home like they did in the past.)

While organized by and for women, it was a walk for all, as their Mission/Vision states: "We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country." Thus it was a walk for people of all races, all religions, all classes. As a son, possibly a father, brother, uncle, cousin - OK you get it - we all have family, friends, and other relations of women that deserve equal treatment and our support for them to have it. It was the gentlemanly thing, the right thing, to do.

We got there fairly early to get a spot and try to find and meet with friends, so it was relatively quiet for a minute, but it quickly grew more than anyone expected. In the end, just as with every city with an organized March planned, Madison far exceeded expectations, with an initial projection of 20,000 turning into 75-100k as estimated by Madison Police, who also thanked the peaceful crowd in a Tweet.
Photo cr. Amber Arnold, Wisconsin State Journal
As we got to the spot of the march one of the first sights that struck me, and stayed with me, was of a college age young woman with an older man, since this was Madison - home to UW - I assume that it was a father escorting his daughter and it filled my heart to see him there to support her. And as the site filled up, and I mean filled up and out, the presence of other men was more than I expected. Fathers, significant others, sons, helped swell the crowd beyond the expectations and show solidarity across all genders. In the end the march filled the entire capitol green and up State Street. It might not have been even a quarter, maybe not even 10%, but I hope that all the women there noticed and were at least somewhat emboldened and inspired that as many if us came as did.

As I hinted before, unfortunately despite the support of all these men, another type of thinking is still out there. That there is a 'place' for women, and its not where so, so many of them want to be - which is wherever they want to be. Young girls, man's daughters, shouldn't aspire to having the same jobs as men, they shouldn't worry about controlling their reproductive system and just take what's given to them (by choice or not), they should for some reason just be happy with what their man gives them. Among people with these thoughts, they usually apply the same to people of different religion and ethnicity.

Considering the act of marching itself, I also saw - even from like-minded people - questions of whether the march was worthwhile. There are many different ways to show support for, or resistance to, any idea or movement and apparently this may not be as impactful. Of course yes, we can and should write letters, make calls, participate in boycotts or support of businesses. In the end money likely makes the biggest statement. But you can't tell me that people - those in positions of power - didn't take notice to double, triple, even five times the expected participation from major city centers to small towns, even cities in other nations. And that doesn't necessarily mean those in opposition. A march may be overlooked by those it is against, waved off, but to those with like mind it can be an inspiring thing, and to belittle that doesn't help either. No method is perfect so why not try as many as you can. Proof for me that it was making an impact happened halfway into the march. As we walked down the street, we passed a building with a dance studio in it. We looked up to see a group of girls during dance class in the studio looking out upon us all. To think that these girls witnessed the outpouring of support for them and their future is unimaginable to me. I don't doubt we made a big difference for even those few girls.


One thing that I am seeing with this march is that the right things are being said and done afterward to carry the momentum. Since marches can be a one-time thing with little follow up to take advantage of it, but the Women's March has a plan of 10 things to do in the next 100 Days. For every ten days they will post a new action item and the resources to accomplish it. I plan to do all 10 of them, and then some.

One last note. If you are familiar with this site at all, you will likely recognize this as a more 'political' post when I have tried to stay away from that. It is something you will likely continue to see. In the current state of the leadership of the nation, I am sure I will continue to voice my thoughts on what is most definitely not in line with what it means to be a great man. After all, it takes the values of compassion and sincerity to be one along with decisiveness and enterprise. Though I want Greater Milwaukee Men to appeal to all men and be a resource for everyone, I can no longer remain neutral, I will be more personal and outspoken. To you that may mean political for better or worse. Either way I hope you stick with and support me and my vision for this project.