I will be participating in the Women’s March on Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration. Stunned and sickened by the election results and what this could mean for America, I believe we need to make clear that women, men, children–all of us–will not allow this president-elect to deny or belittle hard-won rights. Peaceful demonstration and free speech are among those rights. Please join this inclusive rally and march if you believe in democracy for a nation that seems to be home to far too many people who wish to replace it with hatred, racism, sexism, demagoguery, and bigotry against those who have been victimized far too many times and for far too many years. The national Facebook page for the March shows attendance growing by more than 1,000 attendees an hour, with the goal of one million together in D.C. for this opportunity to be seen and heard.
This is a moment of crisis for this country. For me personally, there is an irony and a sadness in this new reality and the timing of it all. I was born in 1945, the year that the world could no longer fail to acknowledge that white Europeans led by Germany had murdered more than six million people because of their religion, culture, disabilities, and political beliefs. That was also the year that two atom bombs were dropped by the United States on two cities in Japan, killing hundreds of thousands immediately and many more for years to come in the aftermath of radiation. This coincided with forcing Japanese-Americans to give up their homes and accept placement in internment camps against their will, based solely on race and in the absence of any evidence that they were a threat to this country’s national security.
It took some time for America to realize that the 1950s were “perfect” for only a few–those who were white, non-disabled, and middle class, whatever that means. Even now, not everyone accepts that a nation that benefited white European immigrants by distributing land stolen from the indigenous peoples of North America is a nation of immigrants, so that it is the height of hypocrisy to now deny immigration to others also seeking to escape poverty, tyranny, and death for them and their children.
By the 1960s, our country began shifting the national agenda towards advocacy for peace and civil rights, with hope that the United States would continue to evolve. The Constitution must be a living document–not interpreted literally as originally designed to protect slave-owners and those who stole from, victimized, persecuted, and murdered Native Americans and African Americans–and denied the vote to women.
Now I am 71 and am no longer confident that the nation we are leaving to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren is respectful, kind, and dedicated to justice for all. Something very bad has just happened that seemed unthinkable but now has become real. It saddens me to realize that I may not be around to see a just nation affirmed by its citizens once again. Please join the Women’s March on Washington D.C. and actions everywhere and elsewhere to stand up for our rights and those who daily are being denied their rights.
Mahalo for listening.