The Voices of Women Who Made History At the March in Washington D.C. January 21st 2017
One after another, young women of color and diverse heritage spoke with eloquence and passion at the Women’s March in Washington. They were not afraid of the harsh and crude truth that Donald J. Trump, the newly elected President of the United States, has no moral authority and that his presidency is unacceptable.
Their speeches rose to the high expectations of oratory – oratory as it is rarely heard in the U.S. Congress, where the good old boys adhere to the expectations of politeness and speak with clodding pedantry, without ever knowing that, when women are released from the shackles that bind them, they are capable of such life sustaining eloquence.
At the Women’s March wise words came from young women who are rape survivors and young women who are disenfranchised and dispossessed. There were no illusions of victory in the crowd or in what the speakers said. They all knew this was the beginning of the fight to oust Trump and his administration, as well as the Republicans in Congress who have declared war on women both in this country and around the world.
One after another women in leadership roles spoke. Celebrating their diversity they were of every hue, black, brown and white and they wore garb that expressed their identity, their ethnicity and race, and their religion. Speakers included: Rhea Suh of the National Resource Defense Council; Melanie Campbell of the National coalition on Black Civic Participation; Roslyn Brock of the NAACP; and J. Bob Alotta, who founded Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.
At Garn Press we applaud them for their oratory and thank them for their commitment to women’s rights and human rights, and quote them here.
Rhea Suh is the President of the Natural Resources Defense Council leading the nearly 500 scientists, attorneys, and policy experts that make the NRDC one of the country’s most effective environmental action organizations.
“It is such an inspiration to see so many of us standing here today in solidarity,” Rhea Suh said. “Each one of you is an individual who made a powerful decision, a choice to be here today. You took time out of your busy schedules, piled on buses and trains, slept on floors, and paid your own way because you believe in the fundamental principle that we matter.”
Rhea Suh raised her hand, pointed her finger, and shouted. “Women matter!”
“And here’s what matters to me,” Rhea Suh said, hand on her heart, “That my daughter inherits a world where a healthy environment is a basic right for all of us, no matter where we live, what we look like, how much money we make, or how we vote, a world where the rights of communities and tribal nations are held first and not last.”
More at www.nrdc.org/experts/rhea-suh
Melanie L. Campbell
Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable Public Policy Network, has fought for civil, youth and women’s rights for over 20 years.
“We march for the human right, to just live,” Melanie Campbell shouted. “We march for Obamacare and Medicare. We march for living wages and paid family leave.” Her list was long. “Black rights, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights and disability rights. We march for freedom of religion. We march for freedom of the press.”
Then Melanie Campbell smiled before looking fierce.
“We march to send a message to the White House and to the Congress and State and local politicians that we will not be moved. We march for human rights. We march for women’s rights. We are ready for the fight!”
The women on the platform raised their fists and shout in unison, “We are ready for the fight! We are ready for the fight!”
“We march,” Melanie Campbell shouted, “because – ” her voice softened “love –” her eyes flashed as she stretched out her arm to the crowd “trumps –” and without missing a beat the crowd shouted, “hate!”
Roslyn M. Brock
Roslyn M. Brock is the Chairman of the National Board of Directors for the NAACP. She made history in February 2010 when she was unanimously elected as its 14th Chairman. She is the youngest person and fourth woman to hold this position.
“Good morning!” she shouted. “I am Roslyn Brock and I Chair the National Board of Directors of the NAACP.” The crowd roared. “We stand here today to declare to you today that women’s rights are human rights. We send a message to our new government that we will not stop until women enjoy equal status.”
“Throughout history women have worked for civil rights and served as the conscience of this nation,” Roslyn Brock shouted. “In 2008, 2012 and 2016 Black women exercised the right to vote larger than any other group in this nation. However, despite our best efforts we learned a hard lesson in the last presidential election – elections have deep and lasting consequences, especially for those who do not vote.”
“The silence of America has been deafening for black women and their families who also feel forgotten and locked out of a prosperous society. For centuries we’ve been overlooked and most often times left behind even in the movement to advance women’s rights. And so I call upon you my sisters in the words of my ancestral shero, in the words of Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a woman?’
“As agents of change and transformation we must stand united to oppose the President’s nominees for the U.S. Attorney General, and the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor.”
“We must also fight to ensure the rights gained by women and minorities, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants are not destroyed by an administration that seems bound and determined to take this nation back to a place where we are a house divided against ourselves.”
“And so my sisters I ask you today as we face the rising sun of a new day begun that we will boldly declare to the class of this administration that we will organize we will fight and we will march on till victory is won – because courage will not skip this generation. Courage will not skip this generation. Courage will not skip this generation! Peace and power!”
More at: www.naacp.org/roslyn-brock/
J. Bob Alotta
J. Bob Alotta, is Executive Director at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, a global foundation based in NYC that provides critical resources to LGBTQI organizations and individuals around the world.
“We will have to become our own collective moral compasses,” J. Bob Alotta shouted, her fist clenched punctuating what she said. “We will have to become our own North Star. So when you look around here all day long and you are moved by the beauty and diversity and passion of all the folks around you remember this, we chose to come together today in all of our power. We do not and we will not choose one neighbor over another.”
“We do not and will not deny the joy and beauty in our blackness and brownness as if it will make us safer or any more sane in a country that has proven otherwise over and over again. We will not hide behind our whiteness because of the vestiges of privilege that to this day services a system meant to succeed the will and line the pockets of a few men.”
“We will not chose some of our rights over all of our rights, because we choose to know better, to do better, to be better and to love better.”
“This is an uprising of love. Say it, “We are an up-rising of love. We are an uprising of love. Choose it every day.”
The crowd in pink pussy hats roared, experiencing the sublime after plumbing the depths of despair caused the day before by the inauguration of the unacceptable Donald J. Trump as the President of the United States.
FULL RALLY VIDEO: Women’s March on Washington – January 21, 2017
At the Washington march one after another the speakers, many of them young women of color, speak with eloquence and passion, and they are not afraid of the harsh and sometimes crude truth. Their speeches rise to the high expectations of oratory – oratory as it is rarely heard in Congress.