Sometimes not being home in the USA is hard. It's hard when you miss an important birthday or when you're sick and just want the comfort of things from your childhood. It's hard when you see photos of your friends out at your favorite restaurant, all together without you. But sometimes, it's unbelievably empowering to be away and to see how small and united the world has become.
There were over 600 Women's Marches around the world on January 21, 2017, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the one in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The crowd was small, far smaller than in DC or New York City or San Francisco. Far smaller than St. Louis and Sydney and Palm Beach, but the lack of numbers didn't translate to a lack of determination to effect change or a lack of really awesome protest signs.
The Buenos Aires Sister March (or really Marcha Solidaria de Mujeres: Edición Buenos Aires) was less like a march and more like a protest, as we only moved around a small patch of grass, across the street from the American Embassy. We couldn't actually march, presumably due to some protest laws. There were barricades and abundant (female!) riot cops to ensure we stayed in the designated plaza.
We had no famous speakers but we had passionate ones. Several people took the invitation to speak on the (literal tree) stump about why they were at the march and what the changes in US Policy would mean to them. Most were American women. There were a few people from other countries, not just Argentina, but Norway and France, among others. There were a few men who spoke about how to be a good ally, and many speakers who pointed out the need to keep the momentum going, while providing resources to do so. My favorite was www.theindivisibleguide.com. If you're unfamiliar, go read it now. Then go sign up at https://www.womensmarch.com/100/ because they're right and if we're not careful, this powerful movement could peter out the way Occupy did.
I didn't speak, but I was moved by those who did, reminded of our diversity and why we need to keep fighting. One woman spoke, as a 20+ year veteran of these protests, of how appalled she was to have to continue to protest for women's rights, for equality across the gender/race/sexuality spectrum. Several speakers outed themselves in various ways, admitting their sexuality for the first time, their status as a sex worker, or something else.
I won't share their stories in detail as they aren't mine to tell, but the fact these people can't admit who they are to their own families and friends and are forced to take refuge with strangers so far away from home was a powerful reminder to me. It's a lesson I need to never forget about how fortunate I am and why it is so important that I showed up and that I keep showing up every day, for as long as it takes.
I'm sure anyone who attended any of the marches on any of the seven continents, or who were with us in spirit, or who even just listened to the speeches that were recorded and shared online, feels the same way.
My great takeaway from the Women's March in Buenos Aires is that no matter how small my voice might seem to me, by joining it to the voices of everyone to who fighting for equality, to end all the -isms and -phobias that are taking over right now, it can matter. It can be strong. It can help change the world.
So I'll leave you with my favorite quote and some really amazing photos from the sister march Buenos Aires to inspire you the way I'm inspired:
“The future depends entirely on what each of us do every day; A movement is only people moving” — Gloria Steinem
Amna Shamim is the founder of Legal Green Marketing, where she helps new businesses in the legal cannabis industry grow their brand online. She is also a furious feminist, a nomad, and working hard to help Fuck Rape Culture. You can follow her company on Facebook or Twitter or creep on her travels on Instagram. Fan mail and article suggestions are always welcome.
Photos courtesy Amna Shamim
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