Two years ago, many Americans found themselves called to react to a moral crisis in our country, brought on by the 2016 election. A swell of grass-roots energy was sweeping the nation — indeed, the world — and women marched in every state, and on every continent, to express their frustration with our political system and show a united front.
What many don’t know is that the sister marches that occurred in Boston and hundreds of other places outside of Washington, D.C,. were organized by local women, driven by local issues.
On Saturday, March Forward Massachusetts, the same local nonprofit that organized the Boston march in 2017, is mobilizing again on the Boston Common. Yet, as we prepare to welcome our sisters this weekend, we find ourselves compelled to state explicitly that our march is in steadfast opposition to racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and transphobia.
Our purpose is to bring together advocates, activists, and community partners who are impacted by gender discrimination and its unique intersections with racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of institutional oppression. There is no room at our march, in our movement, or in the world for bigotry or hate speech of any kind. Our message and resolve locally has never been stronger: When we show up together and harness our collective power, change happens. The kind of change we would like to see in the fight to eliminate economic inequality, gender bias, and racial inequities. The kind of change that ushers in climate justice, increases protections for our LGBTQ+ friends, and stamps out gun violence. The type of change that results in more diverse women elected to office, more inclusive leadership, and power returned to the hands of the people.
As a sign of progress, since the marches of 2017, groundbreaking numbers of women have made the courageous decision to run for office at every level of government, to start and lead campaigns, and to work to advance issues of justice in their own communities. We saw the fruits of that labor pay off with the victories in November both here and nationally. Yet there is still more work to be done.
Our ongoing mission is to connect activists and organizations across communities and issues. We seek to ignite progressive change by fostering feminist civic engagement and cultivating new grass-roots leaders to work toward a more just, fair, and inclusive future. We may not agree on every issue, but we fundamentally believe in the collective power of women to effectuate positive change in our communities.
If you agree, come march with us Saturday.
Karen Cosmas is executive director of March Forward Massachusetts, Tanisha M. Sullivan is president of the NAACP Boston Branch, and Cindy Rowe is executive director of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action Impact (programmatic partner, but not an official March sponsor, due to Shabbat).