Sunday, January 22, 2017

Attending the Chicago March and Taking More Steps Forward

**I am sure there are financial needs from the marches yesterday that the organizers could not have anticipated. I encourage you to donate a few dollars to help them close out their balance sheets. **

Yesterday I participated in the Women's March in Chicago. I, with approximately 250K other people, descended on Grant Park. The Philosopher and I packed onto already full train cars and wended our way downtown, pausing to meet up with others who wanted to travel with us.

For me, as for many in our group, it was our first march. And there were many reasons we and so many others marched yesterday: women, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual identity, immigration, economic, privacy, and others.

We never got anywhere near the stage where presentations and announcements were being made. Word started trickling around that we had far outpaced the amount of people who would fit in the planned march route but then we were hearing cheers and at some point we began to move. We marched through the Loop of Chicago and there were chants and cheers. We waved to every train going by overhead and to people in the windows of the downtown youth hostel who were watching.

Throughout most of it I was trying to finish a second hat. Knitting time having been thin on the ground, I wanted to bring it along and then AudioGirl said she hadn't had time to make a hat for herself. So in the midst of marching, I managed to do a three needle bind off with a 16" circular needle and the crochet hook from my KnitKit.  About 3 seconds after done and with ends still dangling, AudioGirl stuffed her new pink ears on her head.

Yesterday was important. On FB, Twitter, and the news sites, we saw that we were not alone.  There were marchers in Antarctica! And the many smaller marches that are not getting the national eye--  gathering in towns across this large nation. There were amazing signs and a lot of very positive energy. Particularly I loved hearing the chants because the pitch was high, clearly indicating the number of female voices.

Over the course of yesterday, I had a conversation with several people about what happens today and tomorrow and the next day. While everyone agreed that a march alone was not sufficient, many are still trying to identify what particular piece is next.

I could choose any of those reasons listed above in the broad sense and focusing on any certainly doesn't preclude my caring or engagement on other fronts. In my professional roles I have a specific obligation to information literacy (how do we sort out what is fake news and the bias a person may bring to the table) and to freedom of information/access to information and to privacy in which to access information. It was lost on neither myself nor my students that I spent the afternoon of the inauguration day having a robust discussion about evaluating the authority of information resources with a group of students who have immigrated to the United States to practice their chosen profession.

Personally, I am interested in engaging on voters rights. I am looking into organizations like League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote to see what I can do there. I'm following legislation, and getting more information about court cases, the threats, and the needs.

If you're interested in finding an organization who could use your time or your money, the march websites had list of supporters. Here are Chicago's:

We made hats. That was obvious and it was great. But we have a lot more to do. Onwards.

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