Progressive Thoughts With Missing Unity | #WomensMarchLA 2019
Women’s March LA has been commercialize; With commercialization comes photo booths, free Sprite cans and a free opportunity to make a name for yourself without the thoughts of others.
Unlike previous marches, the feeling of a united understanding seemed to be missing. There were more selfies and Instagram videos of 15 year olds saying, “GANG GANG” than there were people standing around with petitions fighting for change. The signs ranging from, “Resting Bitch Face,” Ariana Grande’s famed, “Thank You, Next” to “VOTE” and “TRUMP WENT SICKO MODE” (my vote for originality), seemed to be just that. Signs. No one seemed to be there to talk about the issues or to make an effort to find a solution. What were the issues again? In 2018, there was an estimated 600,000 people in attendance at the LA march. This year, by 12:30PM the estimated numbers were in the thousands. I can only wonder why.
As “LA” as this statement is, the energy seemed off. I almost sat out the march all together. Angelenos didn’t seem to care about it and the teachers strike has been heavy on everyones mind. Everyone has different priorities and as I walked around the march I saw that there was a large gap in age, perspective, life-experience and respect.
Anyone born between the years of 1987 to 1993 seemed to be few and far between. I was elated that so many young women, especially young black women, where out voicing their support for one and other. But as attendees looked around, the march was visibly missing some key support from men, the LGBTQ+ community, and those who benefit the most from the work being done on the “battle ground.”
We can’t support and learn from each other if we do not know who is in our corner.
During protest’s I do my best to be a good listener and focus on photographing what is happening in real time. I want to hear different perspectives and engage in conversations with those with opposing view points as level headed as I possibly can. Saturday was not that day. As a woman of color something in my heart was disgusted by a group of Black men over talking and at times overstepping their boundaries in the presence of young Black women doing nothing more than enjoying their Saturday and speaking on subjects they are informed about. We don’t tolerate Kanye West’s nonsense. We will not tolerate yours.
We are not the enemy.
After short-lived nonsensical conversation with a young Black man doing his best Don Cheadle impression while wearing a Ché Guevara shirt, I had to ask him, “Do you know who Is on your shirt? A revolutionary that was so against the establishment that he believed in living and dying by the sword? A man who is the poster child for Gurellia warfare? A man who wanted to help underrepresented people? You want us to become Blaxit members because…..”
Countless other black women asked this group “What is the purpose of you even being here?”
….and then something astonishing happened. A woman adorned in her best Rose McGowan outfit came rushing the small crowd, screaming at the top of her lungs, “Hey! You don’t yell at a woman! Hey! Who do you think you are?” The crowd soaked it all up. Cameras up. Cheering proudly as this white woman bypassed this group of young Black woman and stepped in their face. I was baffled. Although the men had opposing opinions and we all knew they were only here to get a rise out of people, they were not yelling. They weren’t even angry. The conversation was peaceful. There was no need for her to become a “white savior.” At that moment she wasn’t an ally. She was making a situation about her.
Allies Doing More Damage Than They Are Helping. White Privilege at its finest.
I could go on for paragraphs about what I saw and how it made me feel but at the end of the day I want to see unity. Feminism, to me, means equality for all in every aspect of life. Just as Black Lives Matter was created as a reminder to the world that Black people are important, my stance on Feminism is the same for women. We deserve the same things as men. My femininity does not make me greater than anyone else no matter what. At times I felt the march stomped over that ideology and there were people marching whoes Feminism manifesto screamed “Fuck men and anyone who doesn’t like it.” That does not sit well with me. That energy is what is pushing people away. The march is turning into the uncomfortable space that we all lived in before.
WE WILL MAKE IT NOWHERE IF WE DO NOT RESPECT ONE ANOTHER.
In future marches I want to see more men, more LGBTQ+ members, more POC, and more compassion. I want to see more support. We can do it if we all come together.