As one of the millions of people worldwide who participated, I found the enthusiasm and positivity of the Women’s March both inspiring and energizing. As joyful as that day was, in the following weeks, I was concerned about whether the momentum the March generated would translate into the sustained movement needed to fight for progressive values. After my husband and I participated in 3 back-to-back days of activism this past week, my concerns were put to rest – the movement is strong and it’s growing!
Day 1: CounterAct New Member Meeting
The 3 days of activism started this past Saturday at a new member meeting of CounterAct, a new grassroots group focused on “counteracting the negative implications” of the 2016 election. Along with 20+ new members, CounterAct’s founders, Laurie and Mark, discussed opportunities to positively impact our community through volunteer opportunities including supporting nonprofits that assist refugees. Next, we learned about future events CounterAct is planning, such as participating in a volunteer fair this Saturday. Then, we took action! We all wrote postcards to members of congress to ensure they heard our concerns including obtaining DC voting rights, overturning the Muslim ban and protecting the Affordable Care Act.
Day 2: Resist and Rise Action Planning
Sunday was the second meeting of another local group, Resist and Rise, which I found through Organizing For America. It was exciting to see that the number of participants had doubled since the first meeting! The session started with a discussion on how the group could integrate its efforts with other local organizations and take action going forward. In addition to Laurie and Mark from CounterAct, a representative of DC Vote, an organization working to obtain equal representation in Congress for DC residents as well as to ensure DC residents have control over their own laws and budget, presented to the group. Then, participants engaged in break out in groups to discuss ways to make an impact by supporting progressive candidates in upcoming elections and advocating through social media and letters to newspapers.
Day 3: #HandsOffDC Rally
Monday night, I left work and headed to the Atlas theater on H Street to join hundreds of fellow DC residents working to fight against congressional Republican efforts to overturn our locally passed laws. Organized by DC Councilmember Charles Allen, the #HandsOffDC event started with panel of DC activists representing organizations such as the local ACLU and Planned Parenthood chapters. We then broke out into groups at bars and restaurants across H street to discuss strategies for advocating to Congress and getting involved in local progressive organizations.
These 3 days proved to me that the progressive resistance that started at the Women’s March is continuing to grow! While we won’t win every battle, it’s clear through the halting of the Muslim ban and the nearly unified Democratic resistance to Trump’s Cabinet nominees that grassroots efforts are having an impact. However, the important fights are just beginning and it’s crucial that more people start or continue to support local progressive efforts. I urge you to join groups like CounterAct and do what you can to keep the momentum going!