It. Was. Amazing! That may be the understatement of the decade, but a more eloquent phrase eludes me. My mind is still reeling from the significance of what happened over the weekend, as millions of women around the world peacefully marched in sisterhood. We were determined to make our voices heard and there is no doubt – our massive presence spoke volumes. My heart swells with hope and pride every time I think of it.
As noted actor and activist Harry Belafonte said, “women have chosen to stand in the cross hairs of history.” We refuse to sit on the sidelines as human rights come under fire. We are standing strong, and the truly beautiful part is others are standing with us. Whole families came out in support, putting our leaders on notice that we are watching, and ready to take action.
Indeed that is a part of the power of sisterhood, the ability to bring together disparate communities around critical issues. I’ve seen it many times over the last 20 years in my work in women’s healthcare. When women band together in passionate purpose there is nothing we can’t do. We can raise awareness, change legislation, shift power structures, and indeed transform whole communities. The fascinating part is it usually starts with just one, a single soul committed to making a difference.
Rebecca Shook was that person for the Women’s March on Washington. What started as an idea she thought would never happen became the single largest one-day demonstration in US history, with support coming from more than 500 communities worldwide. Rebecca’s passion, fueled by purpose and then partnered with experience, has spawned a movement – one that is ready to make a difference for many years to come.
However, it will take some intentional focus on our part to make an impact. For this moment in time is different. Rather than one issue that binds us there are many that demand our attention. However will we keep our momentum when we’re all seemingly going in different directions?
It’s a question that begs our attention from the start. Along the march route, it was clear that we were there for a host of different reasons. And yet usually movements are fueled by three key factors: a single common cause that compels us to act, an iconic leader that inspires us to do more, and an element of autonomy allowing ownership by the people. If it’s not owned by the people it’s a cult – giving us the illusion of action, but secretly robbing us of our power and authority.
True movements embrace the power of one, and utilize the collective force of many. Each individual has a rich and fulfilling role to play that is self-identified and rewarding. We in essence get to be heroes in our collective story.
So how can we, as individuals, continue as a part of the sisterhood that started this weekend while still focusing on the issues that are personally important to us?
Here are a few suggestions for staying engaged and connected:
- Join a local women’s organization. The best way to stay active is to find like-minded souls in your community. The gift of sisterhood is that we can be different, and still don’t have to stand alone. Find a group that shares your values, and then sign up to get involved. You’ll be amazed the friendships you make through service.
- Commit to affirming each other as a way of life. One of the best ways to stay connected is by affirming each other’s value and worth. Resist the temptation to personally attack other women, even those who don’t share your beliefs. Instead look for ways to intentionally uplift and inspire! Our words matter. Let’s use them wisely so we can all rise together. Here’s a challenge from Loving on Me to help you get started – Be a LoveLight!
- Play politics. Support systemic change! Being kind to each other is basic common decency. Ensuring equality for all reflects a conscious and compassionate humanity. It requires that we work together within the systems that govern our land, to ensure they work for all people, not just a preferred few. That means that we can’t check out or take our foot off the gas. We must be vigilant and vocal year round – ensuring those in power answer to the populations they serve. Here’s a simple way to start taking action now – 10 Actions/100 Days.
Let’s continue to stand in solidarity around issues that unite us – common decency and equality, rather than superficial differences that divide us. Our sisterhood is powerful because we are powerful. Each of us, through our attitudes and actions, has the power to transform our communities.
In the words of Nancy Pelosi, “Women are leaders everywhere you look—from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. Our country was built by strong women, and we will continue to break down walls and defy stereotypes.”
Let us lead on sisters, for our mothers, daughters, and friends. Let us lead on with grace, dignity, courage, and unfailing love. Let us lead on, for we are here for such a time as this.
Hugs and Love ♥