I’m taking part in the San Luis Obispo Women’s March on January 21, one of many marches taking place that day, internationally. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-san-luis-obispo-registration-30208514480 It’s touted not as a protest, but rather as an event to show solidarity for women’s issues. Still, the timing of the event, following the U.S. President’s inauguration, speaks volumes. Take a look at some of the signs women will carry:
Now, I’ve always been a fighter as a teacher and principal. I remember one time when I led a teacher protest in my school to prevent an architect’s rendition of a remodel to be implemented. The teachers prevailed, but the fight was a draining, contentious one, creating rifts we struggled to mend afterwards.
But it’s the public march/protest I’m talking about here.
I started to think about the times I’ve marched in public, holding up my sign to passing motorists and smiling when I got a honk from a car horn signaling solidarity. I thought you might want to traipse down memory lane with me. When have you carried a sign out in public and stood/marched for a cause?
On my college campus (St. Olaf, a Lutheran affiliated school with only 2,000 students), we protested against the Viet Nam war a couple of times. These were polite, low key events; a Northfield, Minnesota second-string reporter might have recorded the occasions. First-stringers were busy at the University of Minnesota, and in the city of Minneapolis taking pictures of the more rabid protests against the war.
My other ‘marches’ in my life, were all about fighting for decent teaching salaries: Teacher strikes. When state budgets took a hit, teacher salaries were the easiest (and sometimes only) place where belt-tightening was possible for the local government. We couldn’t stand by and watch classroom sizes burgeon and programs drop by the wayside. I may have marched six times in my teaching career, persuading the community to raise pay. In all cases, we were able to boost our paychecks a little bit, anyway.
I give money to causes and I’ve signed a few petitions in my time, but I haven’t marched since I was a high school teacher. (When I was a principal I was part of administration so I couldn’t march, even though I was for enhanced teacher pay.)
So I’m curious. Did you march/protest out in public in your past? When was the last time you did so, and for/against what cause?
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I've always been a wannabe marcher. When the big stuff was happening in the 60s, I was in Europe with FDW in the army. There always seems to be a reason I can't. We did march in Minneapolis a several years back to a bridge over the freeway where we held signs. It had something to do with the war in Iraq. I would love to be with you. There isn't one near enough to me. If I had the funds, I'd join you or the one in DC. Thanks for being there, Rolynn.
I know what you mean. I was a struggling new teacher in a big city (Seattle) when the big Viet Nam protests hit. They didn't look safe to me. Jan. 21 promises to be non-violent. My sister and her friends are supporting the march from afar by making pink knit hats. JL is madly knitting as we speak. (pussyhats.com). I'm getting a hat from her to wear...cool! I'll be curious how many women will show up on Jan. 21.
I've never marched. I was in college in the early 80's, which wasn't a prominent protest period. Having lived in a resort town since then, I'm afraid we're not on the cutting edge of activism. Not that I wouldn't like to protest what's going on in our country. Grrr... Currently, I'm buried in snow and will be lucky to get out of my house. No one is going anywhere around here for a while...
Jannine, I can imagine on the hierarchy scale, you're at the 'survival' level, thinking about safety, warmth, how to cook food, and how to keep freezer stuff frozen. Hope the power is up and you can dig out! I hear you though...I'd prefer if we had a sunny day to march on the 21st. I'd like to comfortable when I'm 'active.' :-)
Ah, Rolynn, of course I marched anti-Viet Nam! I wish you good luck, and good shoes! and wish I could be with you, or at least in Washington.
I marched for union representation while we workers were out on an 18 week long strike. And as a non-traditional student I got signatures to stop Disney from buying and building a resort on Civil War Battleground in VA. Calvin marched for teachers, too. He also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the south and the big one in DC...what he calls the happiest day of his life. He also marched against the war in 'Nam and sang protest songs in the Smithsonian while strumming his guitar. Enjoy your protest day!
Enjoy your day, Rolynn. While you're at it, please remember the brave men and women who gave so much to make your March possible.
Andi, yay for you for protesting that ding-dang war. Thanks for the shoe reminder. My sis is sending my pink hat (one inch to go) - have hat, good shoes, will march!
Vonnie and Calvin win the public protest prize. I'm so proud to count you among my friends, truly. I hate crowds because I have a deep-seated understanding of crowd mentality. I was in South Korea during the Sygman Rhee revolution, hunkered down (a teenager) on our post where my dad was stationed. Helicopters were ready to lift us out if the mobs took over the post (but how many helicopters were there, seriously? Remember Saigon?). We were so scared. This march is based on non-violent precepts. Crossing my fingers.
Margo, amen to that. I'm marching to shore up our rights. I always think of the suffragettes!
By nature I'm pretty shy, so I'm not a public protester in general. I remember an 8th grade class trip to D.C., getting off the bus near one of the monuments smack in the middle of a Viet Nam protest march. It was an interesting lesson in civics! I have gone door to door posting flyers to vote in school board elections, served in leadership positions on the PTAs, and served in a church leadership group where we had to kick out our pastor. (That was "fun.") And I've written letters to the editor...of course! :-) That's about as public as I've gone with my personal beliefs. This is a great country where we have the right to gather and peacefully protest. I hope your events are meaningful and fulfilling!
I marched on a picket line once, in the winter of 1972. Oh yeah, winter. As a teacher, we protested working without a contract since the Sept before. Our big issue was class size. After 3 days of kids at home, parents prevailed on the administration to negotiate and class sizes went down to 21 kids/teacher for k-3. Now, in the district where my grandkds live, there are 29 kids/teacher and only volunteers to help. It's like going backwards. I'll be with you in spirit, Rolynn, and those marching in Washington. It's about time the Powers That Be realize women count, too.
Oh, Leah, you reminded me of my door to door campaigns (politics). Good for you on the letters to the editor! I should speak to my congress people more often, I'm hearing. Phone instead of e-mail. Thing is, my congress people are doing fine...but I guess I should cheer them on at the very least.
Diane, for as long as I've lived, class size has never gone down to its rightful place, especially for elementary school. 21 is a miracle, a blessing. It would be a sign that taxpayers truly understood that cared-for and well-educated children - the smartest investment ever made for a country's future.
I'm not a protester by nature. The only time I've done so was when I was on strike when I was with the union and worked for General Motors.
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