Women’s March Preps For Election Year

The Women’s March Michigan will once again take place on January 21, a year-to-the-day of the first historic march, which saw tens of thousands of people, mostly those who identify as women, join together in Washington, D.C., to form what has become known as #TheResistance.

Thousands of other women and their supporters marched at their state capitols as well, and organizers of the event are optimistic for more of the same this year.

This year’s theme will be “Power to the Polls,” and hopes to bring together women-identified candidates of any and all political persuasions to meet those in attendance and find out more of what is important to them.

“It’s a transition from being a protest movement to consolidating and effectively building political power. It’s not enough to say ‘no, we don’t agree’ … it’s also about something we have to contribute, (that) we have the power to bring things to fruition, to put some of these things in place,” said Sarah Eisenberg, organizer of the Women’s March Michigan.

The Lansing march will also host a workshop, “Bridging the Divide,” led by Eisenberg, which she said will teach people the most effective ways to reach across the aisle to those with whom you may have political disagreements, and do so in a way that you can heard and be influential, Eisenberg said.

“I was on the group that planned the last Lansing March, and one thing we kept hearing … was this feeling that the political results of the last election brought to light political divides with family, friends, and elected officials,” Eisenberg said on developing the workshop. “We started hearing it then, and we keep hearing it now. It’s something I’ve been working on, and we began to launch trainings last April.”

The two-hour workshop in Lansing requires registration, which can be found online.

That is also reflective of where the Women’s March is working to go in general, Eisenberg said.

“Gender justice and gender equity are key issues, but also a number of others, because … many of the social justice issues are fundamentally intersectional. They affect women, but particularly those at the intersection of gender, poverty, (and) other issues that are critically important,” Eisenberg said, including educational justice and equal opportunity, as well as the right to clean water. “As women, we have a fundamentally critical voice on these issues.”

Board Secretary Casey Liska said there will be more “exciting changes” in 2018 as well.

“We’re radically committed to learning and constantly re-evaluating ourselves. We have some things planned, you’ll have to wait and see,” Liska said, referring those interested to subscribe to their mailing list on their website.

Liska said between the march and the convention in Detroit last fall, “People are more engaged than ever” in wanting to help.

She said she thinks what makes it sustainable is the realization of how relevant women’s issues are.

“One thing we want is elected officials to reflect our values in their policies and decision-making,” Liska said. “We want to see our principles reflected in our daily lives. We believe women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.”

Eisenberg added, “It’s about not only connecting with elected officials who will represent our interests and values, but recognizing our own power as individuals, citizens, residents, (and) also as voters and people with a voice. We can have a voice, an influence over the political system, and the people who wield the power.”

Women currently make up less than 25 percent of the legislature in Michigan.

“Until women are equally represented in the halls of political power, there will never be gender justice,” Eisenberg said.

Danielle Emerson

Danielle Emerson