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We Showed Up

Jan 24, 2017 — Categories: , ,

Women learn at an early age to live with fear of violence—at home, at school, in the workplace, on the street. This awareness is something we all share even though our ways of coping with it may differ.

We Showed Up

Rev. Dr. Marie Fortune

Women learn at an early age to live with fear of violence—at home, at school, in the workplace, on the street. This awareness is something we all share even though our ways of coping with it may differ.

When Donald Trump was elected and sworn in as President of the U.S., it gave tacit permission to men to verbally and physically mistreat women. His personal behavior and his words telegraphed the message that you can do whatever you want to women with no consequences.

So our fears, which we normally manage in a variety of ways, became unmanageable. There were countless news articles about people who were traumatized and triggered by the "new normal" in politics. People began to articulate their fears very clearly but, collectively, we didn't have a platform to address them, besides social media.

And our fears were not just personal. They were bigger than that because we have also heard the threats in the  rhetoric about deportations, a Muslim registry, eliminating the Office on Violence Against Women, protecting our borders, eliminating the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood, and on and on—all of which particularly impact women and children and our wellbeing.

It was as if a thick, dark fog had settled over us and we were wandering alone and afraid, knowing that the future was grim and feeling powerless.

Until Saturday. The Women’s March. Thanks to a grandmother in Hawaii who suggested it on Facebook.

Nineteen of us from our little church in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, showed up. From age 8 to 80 we showed up in Nashville, our state capital and met over 15,000 others. There was no platform to argue about. There were speakers but they weren’t really important. They weren’t the reason we showed up.

If we were to use church language, we would say that somehow the call went out, “Can I get a witness?” and the people said “Yes,” and we showed up. Women and men, old and young, all colors, shapes, abilities, genders, faiths, sexual identities, from all continents around the world showed up.  Hundreds and hundreds of thousands showed up.

I was thrilled to see so many young women and men for whom this was their first march. A number of women my age said this was their first march since the civil rights marches or the anti-war marches of the 60’s and 70’s.  And some older folks said this was their first march ever. They all showed up.

So why did we march?  It was really very selfish. We just needed to see each other, to know that we are not alone, that we are not crazy, that our experiences and world view are real, and that we will not be silenced by our fear.

So here’s my suggestion: pick your favorite photo from the marches and post it on your desktop so you will see it every morning. Then join with others or on your own find a group that is working on something you care about and do something every week. Write to the editor of your local paper, or your Congressperson, talk to your neighbors even if they disagree with you.  Keep showing up. We have work to do.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
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P.S. For those who are looking for ways to stay involved, I recommend subscribing to the Weekly Action Checklist for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience



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My heartfelt thanks

Posted by Lilly Lopez at Jan 26, 2017 03:40 PM
Dear Marie: Thank you for ALL your passionate, courageous, intelligible, and timely actions and efforts to inform, educate, challenge, and encourage humanity to become better humans to one another. I pray God will continue to bless you and the work He has called you to do. Thank you.

Please remember us

Posted by The Rev. Mother Nancy Lane at Feb 14, 2017 02:08 PM
Dear Marie,
It is always a relief to receive and read your blog, especially in this era of increased violence and hatred. This post is to simply remind you that people with disabilities are experiencing greater public hatred and intolerance (and trauma). Women with disabilities continue to be forgotten by women leaders speaking about violence and fear. The health insurance changes put us at further risk: cost of premiums; pre-existing conditions; lifetime limits; restrictions on services that maintain quality of life; no coverage of prescriptions; and Dr. Price’s plan to deny care to us.
I’ve experienced 7 public attacks, either mocking my movements, prevented from speaking and threatened, or completing transactions. When I’ve let others know about this, for support, there’s no response-just silence. There are millions of women w/disabilities, may be too afraid to speak or lacking the skills I have to speak persistently. We need to be included by non-disabled women who march, speak, write about the abuse and trauma of the last 18 months, the threat of continuing abusive assaults on us, and with no end in sight for at least four (4) years.
Please remember us, as we remain largely invisible and voiceless. Thank you for all you do and your continuing witness.
In peace, Nancy+

rape and reconciliation

Posted by Rev Judy Braun at Mar 06, 2017 08:56 PM
Recently the pastoral counselor I see from time to time recommended this Ted Talk. When I watched it I thought of you and the work you have been doing. Here is a case who really put the concepts to a test.