Humanist Women on Why We March

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

The fourth annual Women’s March is planned for Saturday, January 18, 2020, both in Washington, DC, and in cities around the world. We reported on the historic inaugural Women’s March in 2017 and explained last year why the American Humanist Association was still committed to the cause. This year, interested members of the AHA staff will march again. Here are what some of us have to say about navigating the past year and the year ahead as women.

In 2019 I witnessed my Latinx, Indigenous, and Black siblings come together as a driving force for social and racial justice like never before. This was a pivotal moment in my life as an Afro-Indigenous and Latinx woman, especially because women like me are perceived in this part of the world as “others.” A consequence of this perception is that my body is managed and legislated by folks who don’t look like me, and the vitriol and hate we too often experience in our daily lives is gaining a stronghold in the policies coming out of this administration. It’s not enough that women like me have to merely exist, we must thrive, too, which is why one of my goals for 2020 is to actively work towards making positive change happen for and within my community. I march because our existence is valid, and we need to be seen and heard!

—Anaiise Diaz, Social Justice and Legislative Assistant

I was one of the only thirty-one women who argued before the US Supreme Court in the 2018 term (which runs through 2019). My three male opponents were among the 150 men who argued in the same term. In the past two decades, the highest percentage of female advocates to argue before the Supreme Court in a given term was a mere 21 percent. After arguing American Legion et al. v. American Humanist Assn. et al. I was flooded with messages from women lawyers—Christian and atheist alike—saying my argument inspired them to realize their own potential.

—Monica Miller, Legal Director and Senior Counsel

Navigating 2019 as a woman was exhausting, but each moment of fatigue was always compounded by the awareness that there are 169 million women in our country, many of whom are more exhausted than me. That collective weight keeps me motivated and engaged.

Rachel Deitch, Legislative and Social Justice Manager

Navigating the current era as a fifty-year-old female is one thing. I worry more about the young women pictured here (from the first Women’s March in 2017) and their sisters of color, who face a future in which their reproductive rights are stripped even further to the point of disappearing altogether. At a time when our government is poised to reverse Roe v. Wade and is actively opposed to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, we must continue to resist and march and vote in our interest. We must ensure that young women can control their lives and make their own choices regarding if and when they have children.

Jennifer Bardi, Deputy Director and Editor in Chief

As a young white woman, I recognize my privilege and the fact that, truthfully, my life hasn’t changed in any concrete way since Donald Trump’s election. But I worry and advocate for others who aren’t so lucky. I worry for the mothers who have no choice but to send their unaccompanied young children across the border for a better life, knowing full well the unthinkable perils of such a journey, only to learn that their children have been imprisoned by the US government, very possibly subjected to sexual abuse, and certainly experiencing irreparable trauma. I worry for the single mothers who make up 80 percent of single-parent households in America. I worry because their ability to feed their kids has been threatened by the Trump administration’s ruthless policy of cutting SNAP benefits. I worry for the trans women who have faced an uptick in hate crimes under this administration. I worry for all the clients to come in current and foreseeable civil rights cases who will now be standing before unsympathetic federal judges appointed by Trump. Those court losses will have a devastating impact on civil rights for decades to come, including cases that directly impact the right of women to have complete bodily autonomy. I march because, in the words of Frederick Douglass, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

Isabelle Oldfield, Paralegal

While oppression is a daily reality, I am thankful for the privileges and advantages available to me in this life. My vision is that one day all women will be free from the chains that bind us, and we’ll be able to experience the same rights and freedoms afforded to men.