Signs, songs and speakers - it was the third Annual Women's March in Friday Harbor. About 250 people gathered to listen and to march on Saturday, January 2019. Former San Juan County Commissioner Rhea Miller was the main speaker. After Miller's speech, Sharon Abreu from Orcas Island led the crowd in singing a new song by Susan Osborn entitled "Chain of Life".
Women’s March Presentation January 19, 2019 by Rhea Miller
This year, as the Women’s March we claim… “as Martin Luther King taught us, the true path to peace requires the presence of justice, not merely the absence of tension. To build power, we must first name and dismantle injustice inside ourselves, inside our institutions, and inside our culture. We must stand up to the youth incarceration for profit; to family separation and the criminalization of immigrants and refugees; stand up to Islamophobia and Anti-semitism and Anti-Blackness. We must stand with and for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn, trans womxn, and survivors of abuse and assault. We want peace through justice”* for every person, and today we focus on womxn.
“Building power means liberation from violence, domination, and oppression in all forms. We collectively suffer from intergenerational traumas that have never been acknowledged or repaired—Bless the MeToo movement for bringing these traumas to light—, and from violence against our only home, Earth. This suffering is intensified and enforced through distorted economic and criminal justice systems that privilege the privileged and punish the poor.”* Today is not about speaking to the choir. We are sharpening our notes to make a stronger song!
A record 102 women were sworn into the House as balance of power shifts in Washington. 35 of whom were elected for the first time in November in a historic wave of success for female candidates. And Nancy Pelosi is third in line to the Presidency!
Among the historic class of new congress people who took the oath of office in the US House of Representatives are the first Native American women, the first Muslim women, including Ilhan Omar, and daughter of a Somali immigrant and who took the oath with the Qu’ran. Her father, a refugee, said, “I could never have dreamed that 23 years later I would return to the same airport in the U.S. with my daughter Ilhan by my side, the day before she is to be sworn in as the first Somali-American elected to the United States Congress,” he wrote.
Another woman was sworn in on a copy of the Constitution, another sworn in on the Baghavad Gita. Rashida Tlaib wore a traditional Palestinian robe for her swearing in. Also sworn in were the first black women elected from Massachusetts and Connecticut, the first Hispanic women elected from Texas, and the youngest woman to be elected to Congress.
At her swearing in, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes honored Shirley Chisholm—who in 1968 became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress and in 1972 became the first black woman to run for president.
Alexandria said, “I wore all-white today to honor the women who paved the path before me, and for all the women yet to come. From suffragettes to Shirley Chisholm, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the mothers of the movement.” We here stand on the shoulders of the women who have gone before us—Radha, Nefertiti, Miriam, Mary, Hotu Matua, Sacagawea, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Fanny Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Gloria Steinam, Anita Hill, Winona LaDuke, RBG, Debra LeKanoff, and the hundreds of thousands of mothers and factory women who have brought us here today.
About 25 years ago I was part of a congregation welcoming the very first female Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The entire congregation was excited to meet this first ever female Bishop of the Episcopal Church. One excited couple had a four year old son who asked as they dressed for church, “Momma, can a boy be a Bishop?”
Can you imagine what it feels like today for girls— Muslim’s, Mexican Americans, Somali-Americans, Native Americans, Gay, trans, and on the list goes, how they must feel seeing these women enter office?
The children of today need role models at every political level so they can dare to become the compassionate leaders of tomorrow committed to justice. I am here to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to those who came before to bring justice, and are now stepping up to lead us into a compassionate future. As Delores Hidalgo of the Farmworkers Union first taught us, “Yes We Can!”
*Taken from the Womxn’s March website 2019.
Photos by Matt Pranger
Photos by Matt Pranger