STAND FOR SOMETHING--It’s hard to believe just two weeks ago, three-quarters of a million women, men and children gathered in LA’s Pershing Square to raise our collective voices to send a bold message to the incoming administration. Worldwide, estimates place the number who marched at just under 5 million. The mission and vision of the marches in DC, LA, cities and towns all over the planet, were to “stand in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” (Photo above: Eleanor Roosevelt. ‘Pussy Hat’ provided by a marcher.)
Many who marched are new to activism, frightened by the rhetoric on the campaign trail and by President Trump’s Twitter rampages. Now that this ground swell of activism and empowerment has been released, what next?
All over Los Angeles – as well as in cities, suburbs, and towns throughout the country and the world – newly minted and experienced activists are planning and participating in “Next Up Huddles,” part of the “10 Actions for the First 100 Days” campaign that was launched at the Women’s March. These groups gather in private homes, at neighborhood bars and restaurants, in parks with the goal of mobilizing millions to “win back the country and the world we want.”
According to the website, groups will “visualize what a more equitable, just, safer, and freer world could look like four years from now— and work backwards to figure out what to do to get there. Huddles are meant to be positive, inclusive, action-oriented and grounded in the tradition of nonviolent resistance.”
Resistance is most effective when organized with specific actions, which is the intent of the Next Up Huddles, gathering Angelenos throughout the city, from downtown to the Westside, from Long Beach to the Valley.
In addition to in-person gatherings, many women throughout Los Angeles have been tapping into social media and texting to spread action lists along with contact information for Senators Feinstein and Harris, as well as congressional representatives to voice opinions about cabinet confirmations and executive orders.
Before November 8, I wrote my column about the election as a referendum for women. As the electoral map unrolled on election evening, many of us were disappointed. In the end, perhaps we have a different type of referendum – showing that women can gather together to make a difference.
To find a Next Up Huddle near you, visit WomensMarch.com.
(Beth Cone Kramer is a Los Angeles writer and a columnist for CityWatch.)