Barbara Gilbertson: "It was an amazing experience, the [Women's] March [on Washington, Jan. 21]".

NOTE: Barbara, of the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, is one of the two people I know who actually participated in the Women’s March Jan. 21, 2016. Barbara writes in response to my blog of January 24, 2016. In response to my request to reprint her response as a stand-alone post on my blog, she included this comment: “Funny about Moana. It’s the only Oscar nominee film we’ve seen this year. Loved it!”
Barbara Gilbertson:
It was an amazing experience, the March. Turned out I went to D.C. Bold choice for someone who doesn’t much like long bus rides, crowds, and some days even more than one person at a time.
I threw together a commentary for the Strib {Minneapolis Star Tribune]. It was weak sauce, and I don’t expect to see it published. but it helped me gather my thoughts. In much the same way as dissecting a movie after you’ve seen it before you go to the movie reviews to see whether you liked it.
The March was inclusive by every definition.
The March gave me experiential learning about intersectional feminism.
The March gave me a new framework for intersectionalism that extends beyond any given individual.
We had a boatload of intersectionalism at work in Washington, D.C.
I didn’t know anything but the diversity had crossed my radar until I got home.
The last two hours on our bus (#3, and named to honor Patty Wetterling) turned out to be the foundation for my 36-hour experience with the March and the Marchers. In the crowded confines of that bus, random access to a microphone (voluntary — some chose not to speak, but very few) emboldened those whose stories we had never heard to speak. Actually, more like summaries/overviews than stories. With deep dips to the core of the speaker. Powerful and often painful sharing. Knocked my big, knitted socks off. In fact, I suspect socks were flying all over the bus.
At age 74, I was the oldest woman on board. The youngest was 17. We were white, black, Asian, Hispanic. Male, female. Sexuality diverse. Experienced politically alongside neophytes. Extroverts and introverts. Telling true stuff about ourselves in the context of the March and the immediate aftermath…what we’d expected, what we got, what we thought we’d gotten but needed to digest. Some anger, some despair, buckets of tears and enough shared information to ramp everyone up at least one notch on the empathy scale.
Everywhere, all weekend long, The Big Question: What next? It was never answered to anyone’s satisfaction. Because no one knew/knows, exactly. But we started up a FB [Facebook] bus group (within three minutes of its being suggested…those college students are techie whizzes). We have been sharing extensively ever since we got home. The MN “chapter” of Women’s March on Washington is active. The national group is active as well. There are calendars of “do this today” ideas. There are hot issues surfacing almost hourly. With Trump in the Oval, how could it be otherwise?!
This is by no means an exclusive endeavor. Neither was the March. It was totally inclusive and, as it turned out, totally safe. Nothing bad happened. And it didn’t take long to know during the March/rally that someone always had your back, wherever you were, whatever you were doing. Not in a cosmically holy way, but in a very human being way. Small children. Babies. Moms and dads. Singles. Groups.
It’s only been 48 hours since this eagle landed. So frankly, I don’t pretend to know the answer to “What next?” But I’m absolutely confident there will be a “next.” Maybe a March. Maybe something different. The Blitzkrieg HQ’d in the Oval is intended to be upsetting and off-putting. And it’s working quite well. But what got started in DC (and St Paul, and Chicago, and LA, and Kenya, and little towns all around our country and the world) is not going away. It’s bigger and stronger than a hot, one-time idea.
I’ll keep you posted. But likely you and your compadres won’t be sitting around waiting for invitations or permission or, or, or to rise to this national crisis. So cross-posting seems like a marvelous idea, don’t you think?
POSTNOTE FROM DICK:: Check back in a few days to this or any blogpost at this site. Quite frequently, people submit comments which are both thoughtful and interesting. This blog is published usually about two to three times per week, on various topics. Guest submissions, like Barbara’s, are welcome. The main criteria are that they be constructive and respectful. Dick Bernard

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