According to Merriam-Webster.com, solidarity is defined as a "unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on community of interests, objectives, and standards". Never did this term have more truth or meaning to me as it did yesterday as I both watched and participated in the women's march.
It started as a simple Facebook post created by one woman's, Teresa Shook's, reaction to the election of Donald Trump inspired to have a women's march in D.C. with friends but it clearly became so much more.
In the morning, I watched on CNN the coverage of the centerpiece, the Washington D.C. women's march, where women, men, and children were gathered waiting to march. Soon CNN cut to video images from across the United States from New York to Seattle and then to around the world from Mexico City to Melbourne depicting 'sister' marches. My local march in Santa Cruz, CA. had not even had a chance to begin and already the solidarity was truly deeply moving.
Solidarity is a value that has perhaps been under appreciated in this generation but has been coming out of the woodwork through recent movements such as Black Lives Matter. There is a rebirth now of the understanding of how powerful standing together on common values is for making positive change.
In fact, the overwhelming success of the women's march had reporters immediately asking participants including Michael Moore before he spoke on stage at the women's march in D.C. "What do you hope to accomplish with this demonstration?". Today, David Gergen and Martha Pease even wrote an opinion piece titled "Can women's march make magic moment into a movement?". Good questions.
But I also think the questions miss the point.
Solidarity was the point.
'Movement' Mission 'Accomplished'.
Yes, individual interests and reasons for being a part of the women's march truly varied as even the signs from our 'smaller' Santa Cruz, CA. rally above demonstrate. Here we can see the common sign 'love trumps hate", a cat image with 'hands off', and a 'no one is illegal'. And yes, on the whole positive messages. And yes, on the whole messages sparked in response to statements by Trump.
Yet, there was so much variety and range of heart-felt issues at the marches that the true unifying sign was the unwritten but not unseen sign of the solidarity of the marches themselves.
Perhaps this is just a self-reflection since I for one did not hold up any sign (though I did hold up my six-year-old trans daughter a few times). I came to support my daughter and myself. I came to show love and support for all who feel threatened by the new administration. I came to demonstrate my willingness to do more than just say I value what I value. And I came for Solidarity, to stand together and know we are not alone and we are here for each other. Solidarity did not disappoint.
Solidarity has awakened, and while no individual can say what will happen next, what we do know is that we will no longer sleep.
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