DAY 7 – Civic Engagement, it matters

Posting this a little late because it’s been a long day.

But luckily, today’s first action item was the Census, which I did already early this year. It’s important that everyone be counted! Especially people rather than citizens.

Today’s second action item was registering to vote, which I’ve done. I actually have my ballot for the Democratic primary next to me, because I registered for vote by mail for the rest of the year. This year in particular, it’s important to know your options – particularly that you can vote early at – well, when I did it in 2008 it was at the municipal building. There are voting options that do not involve waiting at a crowded polling place on election day or relying on an increasingly undercut and sabotaged USPS.

The rest of the action items:

Research candidates; check online to see who’s on your ballot this year.
Get involved with Voter Registration in Delaware. You can register people to vote by emailing Dubard McGriff with the ACLU DE @ Dubard McGriff who have a goal of registering 400 Delawareans in Wilmington by October 10th, NAACP Central Branch by e-mailing, Gerald Rocha Sr., or contact the League of Women Voters to get more involved.

Sadly researching my candidates and actually filling in my vote by mail is still pending.

Women’s March

"We are created equal" sign

This past weekend, I went to the Women’s March on Washington.

I’ve never been particularly reticent about my political beliefs, but this is the first big protest I’ve ever attended. I set up one of the four buses leaving from Madison – though I think we could have easily filled more, especially as the site was extremely optimistic about timing and people wouldn’t have realized they were signing up for 18 hours on a bus each way (my whole body hurts).

“We the people are greater than fear”

When we got there, we were in the RFK Stadium parking lot with what was estimated to be 1800 other buses. The walk to the starting point took a while, and was mostly through suburb, where a lot of houses had signs out front, like the one at left or MLK quotes.

It took me a while to get to the actual march: there was a Starbucks on the way and I needed coffee, and then stayed a while talking to other women who were there for the March. I think at that point I was still a mile from the start point, but at least 90% of the people I saw were there for the March.

A number of people I know showed up for either the March or various sister marches, but I knew a far larger number who didn’t or couldn’t go for reasons of young children or or work or disability or money (did u kno: if you start a Skedaddle route, you get a free ticket). Because I knew a lot of people who couldn’t go, it felt even more important for me to be there; I was going on their behalf. I was going because my four year old cousin deserves a better world than this when she grows up, amongst many other reasons.

You can find all kinds of official coverage of the March – I actually had my tweets included in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel coverage. I also posted a Facebook album of the pictures and video I took and a write-up of my hilariously brief encounter with ‘counter-protesters.’ Because of the plethora of coverage and the fact that I still feel kind of like I rode home under the bus rather than on it, I’m going to keep this short:

The streets ran pink, and loud. It was the biggest post-inauguration protest in history, and no amount of official lies can erase that. The March was very white, but there were women of many backgrounds there, including hijabi sisters with American flags as scarves, because this is their country as much as mine. There were no arrests.

Even better, on the way back, the women on my bus were talking about what’s next: what we’ll do so this really was just a beginning, so that we can reach out and help and make a difference through the next four years.