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Self-Mutilation of the Majority

da47274618e8904d435e29d16f9cb3c8I debated going to Washington for the Womens March today but for one reason or another, I decided to stay in Pittsburgh and go to the local Sister March instead that starts at 11am.

It turns out there are *two* womens marches in Pittsburgh today at the same time but in different locations. I would like to be at both but the egos involved have mandated that I make a choice. The first, the Sister March, is the blessed satellite version of the DC event:

Organizers of a Downtown “Sister March for Pittsburgh” have obtained a permit for a demonstration beginning at the City-County Building at 11 a.m. Organizers expect 400 participants. Among them will be City Council President Bruce Kraus, who said, “Part of the foundation of our democracy [is to] hold authority accountable. I’ll be there to do that.”

Across town, the “Our Feminism Must be Intersectional Rally/March,” also begins at 11 a.m., starting at the site of East Liberty’s Penn Plaza apartments, 5704 Penn Ave. The march, which will end at an all-day Summit Against Racism at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, stems from a dispute about inclusiveness with organizers of the Downtown march.

“There was no black woman leadership” even though “black women have been doing organizing work in this town for a very long time,” said Alona Williams, an organizer of the East Liberty event. “People talk about inclusiveness, but we get erased from the narrative a lot.”

After a heated dispute on social media and a fractious meeting, Ms. Williams said she and other organizers “decided we would take this moment to celebrate. … This has turned into something beautiful” — a chance to affirm black women and their allies.

Organizers of the Downtown march could not be reached for comment about the dispute Wednesday. The East Liberty march, for which the organizers have no city permit, is backed by groups including Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania.

So, to recap, these two groups of women’s activists can’t march together because they don’t feel that their own grievances are getting the priority attention they deserve. I was afraid this was going to happen.

Feminism is already intersectional by its definition. Feminism is about the equality of all women. I will never understand why we needed to slap adjectives on feminism. By dividing ourselves into african american feminists and hispanic feminists and lesbian feminists and pro-life feminists (is that an oxymoron?), we have diluted the strength of being the majority of people on this planet. Isn’t it enough to just be women?? Why isn’t that cause for solidarity all in itself?

So, here we are. Two marches in Pittsburgh. I hope the turnout is as good as the day the ERA died and I went to a protest at the Point with a 6 month old strapped to my back, clinging to me with her tiny fistfuls of my hair. I can’t remember different factions that day. We were all grieving together for what we were about to lose. Then came the backlash. Now we are divided and out numbers will look small even though we are many.

The Trumpests are laughing at us. This is why they refer to us as Snowflakes. Our own individual uniqueness will prevent us from presenting a united front.

And that’s a shame. Because we are The Majority. Even here in election day ground zero Allegheny County. Clear thinking, dedicated, hard working, patriotic Americans outvoted Donald Trump here by quite a lot. We bested Obama’s 2012 numbers by 14,000 votes. In fact, anywhere in America where people outnumber the antelope, Trump voters are outnumbered. They shouldn’t be getting too comfortable. They should feel very nervous.

So why are we doing this to ourselves?

Six years ago, Occupy Wall Street burst into fruition in a matter of a few days. Occupys sprang up all over the country with a very simple message: We Are The 99%. It was a very powerful memorable statement.

We are still the 99%. We are now going to be ruled by the 1%. We have given them the keys to every branch of government. There is nothing we can do to stop them until 2018. This is not the time to disintegrate into an aerosol of particles fighting for recognition. This is the time to coalesce and recognize that we need to stick together in order to be effective advocates for our own lives. Otherwise, they will eat us alive.

The clothes you wear are of little loss if you escape from drowning.

 

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