Thursday, January 19, 2017

Don't Forget About These People When You March

It can be difficult to ensure that everyone is included in an event, protest, or march. But that doesn't mean anybody gets a pass for failing to do so, especially for an event as huge as the Women's March on Washington and its supporting marches.

Unfortunately, throughout its organization and development, this event has had issues. First it came under criticism for ripping off titles of marches from the Civil Rights era that had been organized by black women. There were concerns that too many cis white women were leading the efforts. Then, after that was somewhat settled, there were issues with the organization efforts and mission statement leaving out disabled women and sex workers.

Janet Mock herself has been working with the leaders of the Women's March on Washington and ensured that a line supporting sex workers was included in the mission statement. Because she is amazing. Sex workers are very often left out of feminist events and organizations, partially due to SWERF (sex worker exclusionary radical feminist) sentiments leaking in everywhere, bleh. But this blog is 100% supportive and inclusive of sex workers, who get to determine for themselves what is best for them. So I'm therefore happy that there is at least a little acknowledgement of sex workers from the Women's March mission statement.

At the same time, people with disabilities, chronic illness, and chronic pain are often left out of any kind of march, for obvious reasons. The Women's March is no exception, and as far as I know, not much has been done to include them. Not everyone can get a wheelchair, and even if they can, large marches can be difficult to navigate in a wheelchair. People with chronic illness/pain may not typically use a wheelchair, but a march going for a couple miles would be completely out of the question for individuals who experience pain with every step or are rendered exhausted from a simple trip to the grocery store.

Thankfully, though it's disappointing that they had to do this themselves, disability rights groups have come up with a way that people with disabilities and illness can participate in the protest even if they can't physically march.

Virtual march makes Women's March more accessible to people with disabilities

The Disability March organizers invite people living with disabilities to submit their names, photos and a statement on why they want to "march." The images and text will be uploaded to the website in time for the Women's March on Jan. 21, creating a virtual archive of people showing solidarity with the main event in Washington, D.C.

It's not much, honestly, but that combined with the people livecasting the march will hopefully help women with disabilities and chronic illness/pain feel somewhat included.

Always remember that though marching is great, it is not the only nor the best way to engage in activism. Revolution requires activism of multiple types from multiple fronts, and writing, planning, organizing, and spreading the word are just as important as marching.

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