Saturday we marched. Again. This time, though, the atmosphere was different. Instead of reacting, the forward momentum of movement building was palpable.
Last year, record numbers of us came together in cities across the nation and the world to form the first Women’s March, a powerful protest of everything the Trump administration represents. Women, people of color, immigrants, queer and trans folks all stood together in resistance to a presidency that does not embody our values.
This year, the March had a different tone—one of power, action and momentum. Instead of a protest of resistance, this year’s march was also a celebration of the rise of women in leadership, of the strength in our numbers, in the intersectionality and diversity of our growing movement.
There was also something else of note: Humor and creativity. A few signs captured the spirit of camaraderie and empowerment that were present all day long.
“WE are the ones we have been waiting for”
“A woman’s place is in the house and senate”
“Grab’em by the Midterms”
“Tweet others as you would have them tweet you”
In addition to gathering and sharing insights, the March was also an opportunity to get organized and plan for 2018. As we marched, the conversations focused on several, calls-to-action. I want to urge everyone who participated in the March – and those who didn’t – to join with us.
Be Loud and Be Heard. We need to continue to using our individual and collective voices for the progress we all want to see. That’s the message we heard repeatedly from speakers and marchers. Building on the #MeToo momentum from the red carpet in Hollywood, to the board room, it is clearly time to continue to speak up for equal and fair treatment for women.
Increase Women’s Presence in the Elected Office. We need more women in government office to support the broad agenda. Registering women to vote and raising awareness for women candidates were a big part of the March. In the past year, groups such as Ignite and Emerge America have reported record numbers of women signing up to receive training and support to run for office. In California alone, over 600 women are now planning to run for office in 2018. This momentum is there to create more female representation in government offices, both locally and nationally. That’s why we all should support the launch of Power to the Polls, a year-long national voter registration tour to get more women and progressive candidates into office.
Align our actions with our values of equality and fairness. While we need to continue pressuring our representatives in Congress, we also need to call our investment advisors. We should align our money with our goals and our vision for the world. To transform the Women’s March from an event into a movement and catalyst for change, we would be served by putting our money where our mouths are. We need to invest in local community banks funding women entrepreneurs and away from stock indexes supporting the Trump agenda and legacy economy. Instead, we should invest capital in solutions-focused companies providing innovative products and services that will assist in our transition toward the next, just, sustainable and inclusive economy.
I have been a strong advocate about shopping locally and, in particular, about supporting our women-owned local businesses. The importance of keeping our dollars in our local communities is something we need to do more than ever. While distant online retailers can be incredibly convenient, shopping locally keeps more of our dollars in our local economy, supporting our communities. This shift in spending behaviors can make a big impact in terms of the solutions we are seeking.
The Larger Agenda
2018 is the year to be strategic about leveraging all that we have for the issues we care about. Saturday’s record-breaking turnout built on all the work and progress of the previous 12 months. The day after the inauguration, many of us were still in shock, and yet we rallied so our voices would be heard. Not only was the energy at that first March inspiring to many of us, the strength in our numbers led to incredible activism nationally and to progress around the globe.
The work of the past year has produced an articulate progressive agenda, which has created a platform for a multigenerational social and environmental movement rooted in inclusiveness and equal rights. To make this country great, women – and the men who support them – are now coming together. Together, we must continue to take definitive action to ensure women of all colors are included at the tables that matter.
The tenor of Saturday’s March is reason to believe we’re more focused than ever on the goal and are poised to retake the agenda.
Kristin Hull PhD is Founder, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Nia Impact Capital.