On Jan. 21 and 22, thousands of women will take to the streets of cities both large and small all around the globe in solidarity with the second annual Women’s March on Washington. Here in Arizona there will be marches in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott, Sedona, Payson, Nogales, and Ajo, but there will be no Women’s March in Kingman.
This year’s theme is “Power to the Polls,” and I attempted to organize a Kingman-based march with speakers from the pool of amazing local women who are elected public servants to share their personal stories of empowerment as inspiration to Mohave County women to do something, anything, that motivates their passion and political activism.
And there are plenty of powerful women in Mohave County to choose from, such as Kingman Mayor Monica Gates, State Representative Regina Cobb, County Recorder Kristi Blair, the large pool of City Council women throughout the county, the three women (out of five) of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, Kingman and Lake Havasu vice mayors Jen Miles and Jeni Coke, and Mohave County Democratic Central Committee Chair Marty Luna-Wolfe. And this doesn’t even begin to cover the amazing women who live among us.
But I encountered problems at the onset. Many view the women’s march as an unhinged snowflake “anti-Trump” movement. It isn’t. Others view it strictly as a voice of “the Resistance.” It isn’t that, either. But it’s also not really what its mission states it is, so planning a last-minute event was a complicated challenge that would take more than a few weeks to properly plan.
According to the Women’s March website, its mission is “to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.” But this “diversity” clearly doesn’t include political diversity, because this year’s march focuses exclusively on electing “progressive candidates” to office, which functionally limits the “diverse women” primarily to democrat women.
To be clear, I’m not opposed to the women’s march. I just don’t understand why we need two “separate but equal” marches based on the color of a political party affiliation in order for women to give voice to their political passion, whatever that passion may be. Are we unable to rise above our political affiliation to achieve solidarity as women?
Yes, our personal passions absolutely create oppositional political passions. But the inner strength it takes in this “gender oppressive culture” to stand up and fight to give voice to personal passion is what we as women have in common, what unites us across the divisive lines of political opposition. We need to start focusing on what we have in common, and leave the partisan candidate promotion to the political action committees (where it belongs).
For next year’s women’s march, I envision a fully inclusive (multipartisan) women’s empowerment community event where “pink hats” march side by side with “red caps” in a sea of party affiliation t-shirts of every color carrying “Pro-Life,” “Pro-Choice,” “I love Trump,” and “Impeach Now!” signs in a beautiful celebration of the diverse truth of Mohave County women.
Whether we like it or not, we live next to each other. We shop at the same stores. Our children attend the same schools. We pray together in the same churches. Our lives and families are inextricably woven together in a beautifully complicated way. So why would we carpool outside of our county to amplify the voice of another community when we have such a beautiful and powerful voice of our own?
Let us stand together to resist the divisive agenda that drives a partisan wedge painfully between the hearts and minds of the amazingly diverse women in our community. Let us support each other as sisters in the complicated and dysfunctional family of democracy. Let us be the “transformative social change” within our own community that we would like to see in the world.
We can’t control the party politics of Washington, but we can control how we co-create the community in which we all live. As for me, I seek politically diverse women to help create this amazing vision of a 2019 Women’s March that embraces the true diversity of Mohave County women. If you share this vision, please contact me at KingmanWomensMarch@yahoo.com.
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