I am feeling just a little disappointed this morning.
This weekend marked the third anniversary of the women’s march on Washington DC, with a march planned for New York City.
I am pleased that the women’s march continues and that we are still making our voices heard. This is a huge example we are setting for the following generations of girls.
Protestors walk down 42nd Street near Grand Central Terminal during the Women’s March in New York City at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. NYTMARCH NYTCREDIT: Nicole Craine for The New York Times
My disappointment? There were TWO marches in New York because the organizing group broke into two separate groups – the National Women’s March, New York Branch and the Women’s March Alliance.
I cannot believe that we can’t just get together as a unified front in a fight for our rights and STAY UNIFIED.
I was shocked when I heard about the breakup. What could possibly cause that?
Turns out it was because some members of the National Women’s March Leadership in Washington had previously expressed support for Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam Leader who is known to have made many an anti-Semitic remark in his time. The ladies of the National group have since distanced themselves from these remarks, but all the same New York City was blessed with two marches.
Gloria Steinem, numero uno feminist and political activist, urged us to march either way, saying “March with one of them. Just march!”
I appreciate that she said that because although I would rather have had one big unified march, even as two groups, we are still out there making noise. So she is right! Just March!
And so the two groups were out there and noise and points were made.
But I am still disappointed.
I truly believe that we humans have got to learn to shed our “us and them”-ness and come together as one. Why must we always be right and someone else be wrong? Why can we not lay down our differences in the name of a cause? Or in the name of humanity?
And what better day to discuss this, because today we celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
You know why we celebrate him? Because he taught INCLUSION. He brought people TOGETHER to fight the cause.
We need to learn to listen. We need to learn to understand. We need to learn to forgive. And sometimes we need to learn to accept.
If we keep looking for the wrong within each other and then hold up the wrong to show just how right we are, we can never be unified. Remember the age old strategy – divide and conquer? It works every time. In politics, in business, in families.
If we are dividing within ourselves, the outside forces that we are fighting will always conquer us. We are laying the ground work for them. They don’t even have to divide us…we’ve got that covered. All they need to do is come right in and conquer.
Reading various articles reporting the breakup of the march, you can feel the cynicism, sense the humor with which they demean and devalue the march and in essence, the women. Why would we give them that?
We, women, all TOGETHER, would be the strongest force.
But we have to evolve to be bigger than we are, we literally have to become our best selves. We have to be willing to lose the egos, we have to listen, understand and forgive.
Martin Luther King said “We must live together as brothers or perish as fools” He was a man.
I, a woman, dare to paraphrase – “We must live and fight together as sisters or perish as fools”
Before I leave you with this poignant speech Martin Luther King Jr. delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, on 17 November 1957, I tease out one quote from it:
“First, we must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. It is impossible even to begin the act of loving one’s enemies without the prior acceptance of the necessity, over and over again, of forgiving those who inflict evil and injury upon us.”
There will always be disagreements between us. We are individuals. We each have our own minds and think differently. There will always be things said that we do not agree with or do not like. There will always be things said that are mean, vile and outright wrong.
But turning our back is not the only answer.
Clear communication is the beginning. Listen, Understand, Explain. But I can promise you that it will not end there. Wrong will rear its head again and again and the key is to, as Martin Luther King said in the quote above “…over and over again…” forgive!
Come together women from every location, from every culture, from every faith. Come together and let us learn each other, and let us live as sisters…and not perish as fools.
Stay inspired always.
Transcribed 17 November 1957 Speech – Click Here
Recorded 17 November 1957 Speech – Click Here