“Respect my existence or expect my resistance,” chanted millions of women taking part in the Weekend of Women, which commenced on January 20. Over five million women and men from all over world, with 2.5 million people from the U.S., took part in the Weekend of Women, a women’s march for “Power to the Polls.” In places including New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, Rome, and even in our own backyard in Dallas, women’s rights activists marched at this event with the goal to launch a national voter registration tour. The tour was intended to both encourage higher rates of voter registration nationally and encourage more women to run for office by channeling the energy and activism of the march into tangible strategies that will accomplish concrete wins for women running for political positions.
On a broader spectrum, the Weekend of Women March also protested President Trump’s policies on immigration, healthcare and racial divides. Ironically, considering a significant portion of the March was aimed against Trump (the 2017 Women’s March organized one day after his inauguration), President Trump tweeted, “Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”
Inspired by the desire for reforms, many celebrities joined the Weekend of Women giving inspiring speeches. Olivia Wilde, Madonna and Kerry Washington were among these speakers, all advocating that in order to make an impact, the citizens of the United States must unite and take action; as Wilde said, “We are a tidal wave. We are unstoppable. This is our time.”
More concrete issues were also addressed by celebrities such as actress America Ferrera and singer Halsey. On the issue of racism, Ferrera said, “We reject the demonization of our Muslim brothers and sisters. We condemn the systematic murder and incarceration of our black brothers and sisters. We will not ask our LGBT families to go backwards. We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance. We won’t build walls and we won’t see the worst in each other.” Halsey shared a free-verse poem entitled “A Story Like Mine,” in which she stresses the severity of sexual abuse:
“Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian
Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs
Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues
For the people who had to grow up way too young
There is work to be done
There are songs to be sung
Lord knows there’s a war to be won”
Popularized by actress Alyssa Milano in 2017 and created by Tarana Burke in 2006, the #MeToo Movement was also an important theme in the Weekend of Women. This movement’s purpose is to support assault victims and show them that they are not alone. By hearing “me too,” women are given a sense of comfort knowing they share the same struggle as many other women. Milano stated that the movement was also created to “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, making the number of people able to say “me too” when hearing stories of assault, outrageous.
Inspiring millions of people nationally, the Weekend of Women inspired a roaring turnout, and influenced students and faculty members at All Saints’ as well. Gwyneth Baker ’19 was especially touched by the theme of sexual abuse emphasized in this March.
“The ‘Me Too’ movement and especially Halsey’s poem gave me chills as I realized the extent of women who experience sexual assault, and that it could easily happen to me,” said Baker.
Chance Cook, Director of the Tad Bird Honors College stated that the arch was a “wonderful exercise of democratic freedoms that we have all been gifted with in America.” Striving to bring attention to many policy issues, encourage more female politicians to take office, and incite activism, the Weekend of Women had tremendous impacts across the globe.