A sampling of “what’s next” from UMBC community members, curated by Jess Myers, Women’s Center Director
Last week, I shared some of my hopes and desired outcomes from the Women’s March on Washington. While I was looking forward to marching and being in relationship with other women and people at the march, I was (and am) more invested in the what’s next. In my blog, I wrote, “I want the momentum and energy to continue after the march, especially for those who are new to the movement, new to activism, new to seeing things that are unfair and unjust. I want us to stay loud. To stay critical. To stay visible and demand what is right, what is necessary. I want you to volunteer. I want you to keep learning and growing. I want you to find your activism (if you haven’t already) and make a difference. I want all those things for myself as well.
On Saturday night and Sunday morning, my entire Facebook timeline was filled with amazing photos of the March (and also really important critiques of the march which you should also take some time to read). What was even more exciting than the photos, was the plans people were committing to in their post-march glow. So many people are fired up!
In my last post, I also reflected on the mission of the Women’s Center and our commitment to advocating for and advancing the rights of women and marginalized people. While the Women’s Center is a space and the people who work in it are committed to putting in the work, YOU, our community, are a huge part of that mission. We need you to help us live and be our mission. So with that in mind, I put a call out to some Women’s Center friends and former staff and asked them to share what their post-plans march are so I could share them as inspiration and motivation to our larger community. What I share below isn’t necessarily the full list each person shared with me but I love the breadth of ideas and action items.
So, I’ll go first…
After the march, I began the divestment process from my bank that financially supports the Dakota Access Pipeline as one way to be in solidarity with the Sioux Tribe and particularly native women (knowing construction of oil pipelines can contribute to an increased risk of sexual assault for Native women). I also am committed to investing more of my time and energy in local politics and activism.
Yoo-Jin Kang, UMBC Class of 2015 & former Women’s Center staff member
“Post-march I’d like to commit to speaking up, leaning into discomfort, and having the tough conversations with people who are willing to engage and listen. I want to commit to intersectionality because my feminism is privileged and one-sided without it. I want to continue to support local calls to action– whether that’s calling local politicians, supporting POC-owned businesses, rallying people in my community, or looking up trainings and materials to help guide my understanding of complex issues.”
Dr. Kate Drabinski, GWST Faculty
“I’m going to keep doing what I do, where I am, and I commit to continue learning, doing, and acting. Oh, and calling my reps–local, state, and national–over and over again while staying open to new strategies and tactics as they arise.”
Lexx Mills, UMBC Class of 2013 & former Women’s Center staff intern
“I had to call out sick from the march and be there in spirit. I am committing to regularly calling Congress and getting family and friends involved.”
Emily Frias, UMBC Class of 2016
“In my current position I’m already heavily involved in local politics, but going to the march helped me further understand the context of the work I’m doing. While protecting reproductive rights is certainly important, black rights, immigrant rights, trans rights and disabled rights cannot be sacrificed in the name of unity. I felt like I was taking in the state of modern feminism, and seeing exactly how important it is to insist on intersectionality. Going forward, I’ll continue to keep these ideas at heart in the work I do!”
Mariana De Matos Medeiros, UMBC Class of 2016 & former Women’s Center staff intern
“After attending the march I am going to be attending training to become an abortion doula and am hoping to continue to researching and learning more in hopes to have brave conversations with the people in my life.”
Jake Leizear, UMBC Class of 2016
“More dialouging (and learning how to make it a less anxiety-inducing experience), and more lobbying. I want my elected officials to know me and be sick of me.”
Dr. Dawn Biehler, GES Faculty
“I’ve been calling members of Congress, though I don’t know how much they listen to me since I don’t have a Senator or full Congressperson as a DC resident… We have started attending services at a very progressive church, All Souls Unitarian, which has a long history of social justice activism.”
Megan Tagle Adams, Women’s Center Assistant Director
“I’m still figuring out my post-march plans and priorities, but to begin with I’ve started donating money more frequently to important organizations and causes. I plan to learn more about third party politics and ways to get involved locally. I’m also committed to recentering the truth by combating the spread of fake news and challenging the uncritical use of harmful euphemisms like “alt-right.””
What are you plans? What’s next for you?
For more ideas or ways to keep the momentum going:
Countable – an app that makes it quick and easy to understand the laws Congress is considering
Attend upcoming Women’s Center events – check out our spring calendar