Virginia is a passionate progressive and now leads a group of women activists in her retirement community. It's not safe to ignore politics.
I came home on Saturday, January 21, 2017, inspired and energized by the spirit of thousands of women plus some men and children. Women's rallies and marches took place all over the United States and even in other countries. I attended the one in Orlando, Florida.
The participants were of all ethnicities and ages. There was a camaraderie and a joyful spirit among the people at the rally.
The signs indicated that diverse causes brought all these people together. It wasn't just women's rights, it was human rights at stake here. Minorities of all kinds worry now about what will happen to government services that they may count on.
One of the speakers was a blind woman, while another described the difficulties of being a Black, poorly-educated, single mother trying to keep her children fed, healthy and safe so she could hold down a job. She finally ran for office after seeing that the state government had no concept of the difficulties people have trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
We left the rally feeling charged up to call our representatives and senators, to speak up for our beliefs, to run for office, and to put our all into making sure that the vulnerable in our society are not harmed if we can at all prevent it.
There Was Widespread Participation
Across the U.S. and even around the globe, over three million women participated in rallies and marches to protect women's rights. There were 616 different events scheduled.
Just in Florida alone, here are the cities that held marches: Daytona Beach, Fernandina Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Miami, Miami Beach, Naples, New Smyrna Beach, Ocala, Orlando, Panama City, Pensacola, Saint Petersburg, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Tallahassee, and West Palm Beach.
Several cars filled with women in their 60s and 70s headed to Orlando from our senior community. Many of us pushed for women's rights back in the 1980s and are irate that we have to march again to keep those rights from being rolled back.
World Wide Participation
There were marches in Mexico, Australia, the Cayman Islands, Kenya, and many more places around the world.
Men were welcome too. Women's rights are human rights.
Signs from the Women's Rally in Orlando
As many as 5,000 or 6,000 women (and men) gathered at Lake Eola in Orlando for a sister rally for the March on Washington. Here are some of the issues people cared about and made signs about.
A festive atmosphere marked the occasion as people connected with others and took snapshots of the creative signs and the t-shirts sporting slogans.
People left the event inspired to continue with activism and networking. I hope to see a new dedication to preserving the human rights of women and minorities.
Why Have a Women's Rally?
Women's rights are human rights. Human rights are women's rights. Women make up 50% of the population and as a movement, they care about the rights not just of women but rights for all humans.
What's the Women's Movement About?
The upsurge of women's activism is not about abortion, it is about all the rights that women have worked hard to gain in the last 35 years. Many younger women don't realize that quite a few rights that they enjoy today were gained so recently.
- It wasn't until 1972, that an unmarried woman could get birth control.
- It wasn't until 1974, that a woman could get a credit card in her own name.
- It wasn't until 1977, that a woman could sue for sexual harassment.
- It wasn't until 2010, that women and men's health insurance was equal in cost. Before that, women paid more.
I'm old enough to remember when a wife's salary couldn't be counted towards getting a mortgage or when women had to wear skirts to work, no slacks were allowed. Here are more examples in a quick video.
My Friends Remember the Not-So-Good-Old-Days before Women Had These Rights
Poppy, remembers, "It's all so easily forgotten although so much of the legislation was fought for and won in my lifetime. I'm one amongst the many who pushed in my own field to get things fairer. I've no wish that young women suffer the humiliations and struggles of the past so we do need to be aware that recently won equalities are still under threat from dinosaurs like Trump et al."
Barbara, a British friend says, "I remember when a woman couldn't buy a fridge on hire purchase (layaway) without her husband's signature. When it was legal for your husband to rape you (imagine a husband you were divorcing for domestic violence)."
There is too much legislation being passed attempting to restrict women's ability to make decisions about their own body. This is a human rights issue and it is about men trying to control women.
Please, watch the video above and think about joining the women who are taking a stand for women's rights and for the rights of minorities and the vulnerable in our society.
The World Watched and Cheered the Women on
A friend in Europe said: "Many will be marching with you in spirit. It is so important because any undermining of women's rights in the USA is good news for those who denigrate the human rights of women in many countries. We need presidents and prime ministers to insist on the rights of women in health, jobs, marriage, and education - still denied to too many because they were born a girl."
Slogans to Put on Protest Signs
Before heading off to your next protest or rally, you'll want to make an eye-catching sign to promote your cause or to protest whatever is bothering you. Here are some slogans gathered from a variety of events. Choose one that resonates with you.
General Slogans for Signs
- Respect our EXISTENCE or Expect our RESISTANCE.
- Too Many Concerns For One Sign
- No hate. No fear. Immigrants are welcome here
- We believe: Women's Rights are human rights, Love is Love, Black Lives Matter, No Human is Illegal, Science is Real - So We March
- My 7-Year-Old Acts More Presidential
Slogans on Women's Issues
- We want the WHOLE damned dollar.
- Republicans want a government just small enough to fit inside my vagina.
- Vagina. Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's none of your damn business.
- Sass the patriarchy
- Keep your tiny mitts, Off my lady bits!
- If I Make My Uterus a Corporation, Will You Stop Regulating It?
- Make Racism Wrong Again
- We are all immigrants
- I'm so mad I made a sign
- No Ban, No Wall. Fight FASCISM!
- Unless you are Native American, you are an immigrant.
- Build bridges, not walls.
- United against HATE.
- Make America GRATEFUL again.
Make the lettering large enough to be read in a crowd. Use color, maybe in the sign background, to add impact. Graphics can enhance a sign, but don't let them obscure the words. In some situations, wooden handles are not allowed on signs, so check ahead of a rally to be sure your sign will be allowed into the event. Use both sides of the sign.
I Marched for Women's Rights in 1989
Back in 1989, I participated in a similar march to bring attention to women's rights. It was sponsored by the National Organization for Women. There were speakers on the capitol lawn like Gloria Steinem and other leaders.
I dressed for comfort on a chilly Washington spring day. Wearing a backpack and decked out in buttons and stickers with slogans like "Choice" and "Our Bodies, Our Choice."
I was one of the 500,000 who marched that day. There was another march in April 1992 and now this one in January 2017 about women's concerns. I was part of a historic movement and it is frustrating to see the legislative efforts across the United States to roll back women's rights.
Here's a Video of That Historic Women's March
I found this video of the event and it brought back memories of the excitement, the blustery wind, the women (and men) who traveled long distances to participate, the creative signs, and the chanting of slogans.
Lawful Protest Or All-Out Sedition?
A fellow writer and Facebook friend said, "Throw rocks at me or whatever....but, I find a decisive leader who really DOES something, quite refreshing! I also think a lot of what is continuing in this country is quickly moving from lawful protest and freedom of expression to all-out sedition and should be treated as such. I hope I have not offended those who don't agree. I never did think I had to only be friends with those with whom I agree 100%. How boring....."
I had to reply. I just couldn't ignore her equating protests to "sedition." Also the phrase, "should be treated as such," really grated on my nerves. What? Does she think we should be thrown in jail, subjected to water-boarding, have our citizenship revoked?
(see my more detailed response below)
And Here Is My Response to Those Who Say Women Should Not March
Here's what I said, and yes, it is rather a rant. "Well, women are not going to shut up and sit down when they see policies and appointments that will have negative effects on the lives of their children. I'm going to another protest on Saturday in Orlando, and I don't even have children.
I could sit back and say, I'm comfortable, I have healthcare, I have money for my retirement, I don't have children who are disabled, autistic, with brown skin, gay, transgendered, or who need clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Probably the planet won't die in the next 20 years, so why should I care?
But, I do care. I do want working women to make as much as a man in the same job would get, even though I'm no longer in the job force. I want to preserve our national parks and slow down climate change. I want our public schools supported and students of all gender-identification, all colors of skin, and all abilities to thrive and be aided in their educational growth.
As you can see, I feel very passionately about the need for citizens to stand up for issues that are important to them. You've known me for quite some time and know that I'm not a trouble-maker, not a leech on society, not a hateful person. Please know that the people who are speaking out and the ones that march are people like me. They are people who care about our country and about the people who live in it."
Slam Poet, Faith Culhane, Performed at Orlando Women's Rally
All the speakers at the Orlando Women's Rally on January 21, 2017, were inspiring and impassioned. When Faith Culhane took the microphone to perform her slam poem, the audience was moved to tears.
Fortunately, someone videotaped it and put it on YouTube, so here it is for you to experience as well. It is called What Do You Tell Your Daughters about Growing up Female.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: I hear people say that Soros pays people to attend these rallies and protests. Is there any truth to that?
Answer: I've been to women's marches in 2017 and 2018, and to a gun safety march. The people there were like me, voters who care about what is happening in our country. We took time away from our duties and lives, paid with our own money for our transportation and parking. No one paid us. With the millions that came out all over the world, even in London, Australia, Norway, other countries, there is no way even a person as rich as Soros could pay all those people. They came out because they were angry, concerned, and wanted to make their voices heard.
© 2017 Virginia Allain
Tell Us about Your Own Memories of the 2017 Women's March. Were You Able to Participate?
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 30, 2017:
I am reading now a book on the women of Iran and I realize that there is still a long way to go for women to gain their rightful place in the world and your highlighting this is such a good move.