This past Sunday, January 21st, Women’s March chapters across the country celebrated the first anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington with a day of action focusing on national issues including healthcare reform and reproductive rights while also calling attention to local issues like voter suppression, registering new voters and urging members to support marginalized communities.
New Florida Majority volunteers and staff attended anniversary events in both Jacksonville and Miami, reaffirming the need for communities to support and uplift women leaders. NewFM volunteer, April Roberts spoke at the Jacksonville day of action, urging attendees to support the Say Yes to Second Chances campaign, a proposed ballot initiative that would restore voting rights to Florida citizens with previous felony convictions.
“Women are the heartbeat of mother earth, the backbone of our family and friends [and] leaders marching into a great future, and in that future, we must have forgiveness, which offers every human being a second chance,” said Roberts.
NewFM climate justice organizer, Nancy Metayer spoke at the Miami day of action, calling attention to how the environment impacts women.
“No matter if you are a woman who is poor or rich, you are impacted by the environment. Women in developing countries rely heavily on natural resources… and are exposed to toxins every day which is transferred to their unborn child… Advancing gender equality may be one of the best ways to save the environment… The voice of women is critically important for the world’s future,” said Metayer.
2017 was a powerful year for women across the board. While the Trump administration took aim at issues that directly impact women including funding for sex education, how colleges handle sexual assault cases, how some workers can obtain birth control and more, a record number of women ran for office (& won), women like Maxine Waters and Kamala Harris called their fellow elected officials out on their B.S., and men in Hollywood fell from power (like dominos) after finally being held accountable for accusations of sexual assault. The anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington is not only a reminder of the strides that we’ve made in this past year, but also of the resilience and strength possessed by women from Hollywood to Miami.
In his closing of the Jacksonville day of action, NewFM organizer Devin Coleman was asked to present a challenge for attendees. He closed with the following words.
“I don’t have a challenge for you because over the decades of my life women have always risen to the occasion for the family. Women have always been on the front line. I have more of a request. My request is that you continue on, continue to be strong, resilient, and courageous. Continue to build. We not only need you, we depend on you.”