In his farewell speech on Jan. 10, President Barack Obama spoke about the “power of ordinary Americans to bring about change.”
For many of us, especially in California where our votes in essence did not count in the outcome of the November election, this is a dark time. Each day we hear troubling statements that run counter to our values. We fear the change that is ahead.
We despair that our health care will vanish, that women will lose their hard-fought rights, that injustices toward minorities will continue and grow even worse, that our voices will be further marginalized. We fear for the environment, and for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and for the education of our children. We fear for the right to religious freedom, for our democracy, and for our country. We fear for our future, and that of our children, our grandchildren, and future generations.
This weekend, I will make a change in how I express my opinions. I will march in protest in the Women’s March in San Francisco, as people are doing all over the country. There are many people, events, protests, and organizations to support us. The State of California, the 6th largest economy in the world, will be assuming risk in leading resistance to policies that run contrary to California laws and priorities, such as environmental protections.
The March in San Francisco and the Bay Area on Jan. 21 is anticipated to be as high as 100,000 strong. Join me, by registering at https://womensmarchbayarea.org/san-francisco-march/.
Crowds, however, are not for everyone. What else can we do to safeguard our liberties and the right to speak out? Here are some possibilities.
- Sign petitions, wear pink hats and safety pins. These may seem like frivolous, empty gestures to some, but collectively, in large numbers, they send a message.
- Donate. There are many worthy organizations fighting on behalf of American democracy, women’s rights, and health. Support candidates who support your values. Support organizations that defend our freedoms.
- Support the press. In the world of fake news, support reliable sources through your paid subscriptions (more information on identifying fake news will be coming soon).
- Share legitimate news stories, articles of interest and calls to action through social media.
- Be alert. Be vigilant. Be respectful.
- Be open to different opinions, but fight against the loss of civil liberties.
For my friends who are marching, whether it be in Washington, New York, Chicago, San Francisco or elsewhere, please keep number 5 in mind. Unfortunately, there could be troublemakers who have a different agenda. Be vigilant and be safe.
And to paraphrase President Obama, believe in your ability to make a difference. Be the change.
Bay Area Women’s March
California Economy Surges to Number 6 in Global Economy by Dale Kasler. Sacramento Bee, June 14, 2016
California Strikes a Bold Pose as Vanguard of the Resistance by Adam Nagourney. New York Times, Jan. 18, 2017