Sarah Raskin, one of the organizers of the Women's March on Washington, talks about the Jan. 21 event.
The Women's March on Washington takes place on January 21, and I plan to be there ("Maryland preps for a busy inauguration and protest weekend in January," Jan. 8). I have read opinions that the march is only for elitist white women and that it will not make a difference. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this. I am white. I am actively working to understand privilege and how to use it with humility and for good. In D.C., I will march for the rights of women of every color and background and the many things we have in common. This will not end racism, sexism, homophobia or systems of oppression. But it's a step.
Rich white men are again in power, and some of them must be convinced to support the rights of women. Men who voted against the Violence Against Women Act (nominees including Jeff Sessions, who has been nominated to serve as attorney general, Tom Price, the pick for secretary of health and human services and Mike Pompeo, future CIA director), men who voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (Messrs. Sessions and Price), men who have been accused of spousal abuse (adviser Steve Bannon and labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder), and others who threaten women's health by cutting funding and infringing on reproductive rights. They will all be working under a president who does not respect women, as evidenced by his admitting to verbal and physical sexual harassment, openly bragging about cheating on his spouses and regularly insulting women via multiple media channels.
These are the men in Washington who will decide our future. I hope that a show of unity among women and men will be one of many steps taken to open dialogue and increase understanding so that we can work together for all citizens to succeed.
We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us and fought to build a better country and world. In my family, they are immigrants, soldiers, business owners, Peace Corps volunteers and teachers. I do not take them or the work they laid for a peaceful, equitable world for granted. The work is clearly not done. On January 21, I will march for the rights of women and I will continue to fight for all human rights as long as I am able. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg says, "real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time."