January 20, 2017: Today, a thin-skinned, authoritarian narcissist who lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes is being sworn into the highest office in the United States, and arguably the most powerful position in the world. He has shown utter contempt not only for women, Muslims, Latinx and Black people, immigrants and the LGBT community, but also for the Constitution and its most basic protections, including freedom of the press; democracy; facts; and human decency.
Tomorrow, members of Positive Women’s Network – USA will join hands with an estimated 200,000 women and others who believe in freedom, justice, and equality at the Women’s March on Washington, and with an estimated two million women at “sister marches” in 616 cities around the world.
We march because we refuse to take a single step backward. We march because we will not be told to stay quiet and know our place. We march because we have fought to openly and proudly live with HIV in a world that sees our bodies as disposable, corrupted, and diseased. We march because we will not be told what we can and cannot do with our bodies. We march because we will not sit in silence while our Muslim, Latinx, Black, immigrant, and trans members, sisters and brothers are told they are worth less and are denied equal protection of law. We march because in 2017, it is absolutely unthinkable that the United States of America should be stripping its citizens and residents of their hard-fought rights, from the right to vote to the right to healthcare, the right to marry, and the right to decide if and when we will have children, undoing the progress of more than an entire century.
Even as we march, we stand in solidarity with our sisters who cannot or have chosen not to march with us tomorrow because they are exhausted by the emotional labor and physical danger required when there is a lack of real solidarity. We understand that white feminism has historically marginalized Black women, other women of color, trans women and non-binary folks, and sex workers, and that for many of our sisters, practicing radical self-care or investing in their communities in other ways takes priority over putting themselves at risk to remedy a disaster they did not cause and should not be responsible for fixing. For some of our sisters, this is a matter of survival. We acknowledge and are grateful for the past and present leadership of these women, whether they refrain from joining the march by choice or by necessity. We have been and continue to be concerned at the organizing process, which initially sidelined leadership by women of color and which has failed to sufficiently address sex workers’ rights and to center justice for people with disabilities. This struggle will be a long haul. For the women of color and sex workers who have chosen to stay home or invest in their communities in other ways, we honor you and will stand with you when you call on us.
While acknowledging these shortcomings, PWN-USA endorses and embraces the March because we feel strongly that this critical moment in history demands a forceful, unified response—a first powerful display of resistance that needs all of our voices. We march because we refuse to go back into the shadows. This Saturday, we begin the visible, united resistance against any rollbacks to rights, safety, and dignity. We will show the incoming administration, Congress, and the nation that, as many differences as we may have to work out amongst ourselves, we will unite to resist the forces that threaten the very rights and dignity we have struggled for and won over the centuries.
Today, tomorrow, and always—we will fight for equality, liberation and justice.