Have you ever experienced something and it just seemed off? You couldn’t quite put your finger on it but something in your gut said, “This isn’t right. There is something just slightly off about this.” Perhaps like when you view those Spot The Difference pictures and the pictures look so incredibly similar yet under close, eagle-eyed scrutiny you notice slight differences.
That is how I felt about the Day Without Women. I wanted to stand behind it, wanted to support it, wanted to believe that maybe this time, they got it, they understood, they learned from the Women’s March. Surely Becky, UGG Boots and Pussy Cat Hats was not going to be replicated but something in my gut said this is not right.
I felt like Smokey in Friday, “You ain’t never got two things that go together…cereal, no milk; Kool-Aid, no sugar; ham, no burger…damn!!” I felt like they had protests for women, yet limited, if any, marginalized women. Protests, yet no acknowledging 53% of White women voted for Trump. Protests, not acknowledging their role in the history of oppression of many women. Protests, not understanding that the very fabric of the protest highlighted privilege. A privilege to take a day off work. A privilege that many Women of Color do not possess.
Every woman does not have the privilege just to take off work. And while I know the outline allowed for this and said women on this day should wear red, I thought of women in uniforms. I thought of women that are stay at home mothers. How do they take a day off? Should they tell their children, “I am sorry, I am off today.” I thought of single mothers getting up before the sun rises to head to a job that will not allow them a day to protest. I thought of many Women of Color working diligently to make ends meet all across this world.
Then I thought of women like my former teacher Ms. Brown, a Black woman, who told me my voice commanded attention even in 3rd grade. I thought of her and how her attention and nourishing of my writing and speaking, helped empower me to be who I am today. I thought of doctors, judges, bus drivers, waitresses, teachers, lawyers, professors, nurses that would be there March 8 and March 9 and March 10 and beyond because their passion and purpose are not about a National Women’s Day Off. It is not about hashtags and selfies. It is about standing in the gap. It is about being a presence in a space when women need to be in those spaces. And they know standing in those spaces is an act of justice. We don’t just walk off the job. We complete the job. We lay the foundation for other women to come behind us.
A Day Without Women is not symbolic of justice. It is not symbolic of equality. A Day Without Women is a day of hell. Without the backbone of this nation. A day without women is a day when the world has gone silent. And now more than ever is when we need women to shout!
Please, stop this! If you want to IMPACT this world use your power to disrupt policy that seeks to abuse the least of those. Use your privilege to stand up for someone that doesn’t have the same privileges as you. Use your position to allow access for all women. Use your resources to fund a movement.
Right here in this nation reproductive rights are being taken away. Right here in this nation 10 and 11 years old girls are being trafficked. Right here in this nation Women of Color are dying from preventable diseases due to lack of health care. Right here Black women are murdered by the police and no one bats an eye. Right here they are passing laws to re-segregate schools. Right here they are passing legislation to criminalize protesting. Right here 6 Black transgender women and 1 Indigenous transgender woman have been murdered this year. Right here! Right at your very doorstep lies your protest. You don’t have to look far to save the world. You don’t need a spotlight to do the right thing. There are no hashtags needed when it comes to fighting for justice. As a matter of fact, we don’t need you to save the world. Just save your own little corner. Start there. Forget the catchy slogans and cute knitted hats, and fancy curated posters and designer protest bumper stickers. Look around your community, your city, your state. There is where you will find a movement that needs you! Your voice! Your power! Your abilities!
Until then something will always seem off to me about these national “protests”. Something will always seem “missing” like when you sit down at a meal and something just tastes off. Like it needs a little more salt. A little more “seasoning”. That is how I feel about these national “protests”. They need some flavor. Until then everything will continue to taste bland and leave people wanting more.