|Boston Common - cow pasture, witch hanging site, public park, and gathering space since 1634|
This Saturday, I exercised my First Amendment rights to freedom of assembly with around 125k others in the Boston Women's March for America. Boston Common was a confluent mass of women and their allies, of all ages and races, with many signs and clever slogans that summarized the tangled mess of thoughts I had one day after the inauguration.
It was an uplifting day, being among the masses of like-minded people who recognize that the rights of women, people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ+ folks, people with disabilities, immigrants, the poor, the marginalized, etc are in peril. I saw Senator Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and other women leaders and activists speak. Now more than ever, I know that solidarity and allyship must be key pieces of my role as a citizen, a voter, a peer, and a future doctor.
Some students from my school marched under our school's official banner with white coats on -- our school, even among other medical schools, leans progressive and likes having official presence at events like these. However, I arrived too late to find them and instead marched with one of my friends from college. More eloquent peers and activists and journalists have covered the Women's March, but I'll throw in the last of my two cents here:
This was an exceptionally peaceful, organized demonstration. "Respectability" is a loaded word when it comes to public, highly visible forms of civil expression. "Civil disobedience" and "peaceful protest" do not apply to this march, which, given the sheer numbers of people involved, is probably for the best.
The overwhelming amount of pink pussyhats and images of genitalia made a strong statement about the vulnerability of reproductive rights, but also, an uncomfortable definition of women's rights as the rights of cisgender women. And while this conflation of pink and XX chromosomes and womanhood and feminism did its job to mobilize millions of marchers worldwide, deeper intersectionality is needed if this movement is to move forward.
Intersectional feminism is for everyone. I need to practice it more visibly and more productively from now on. For all my critical thoughts about the march, I am glad that it happened at the scale that it did, I am glad to have participated, and I am proud to be an American.
This title of the post preceded the post itself. It is a slightly modified lyric from the Battle Hymn of the Republic, one of my favorite patriotic songs. It was written during the Civil War by Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist, feminist, suffragist, and Bostonian.
My favorite recording of the Battle Hymn of the Republic is by Odetta. There is no comparison.
Very notably, it was sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir during President Obama's second inauguration. It was also sung at Donald's pre-inauguration, but the GOP still refers to itself as the party of Abraham Lincoln, so there's that.