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The Call for Unity in the 2017 Women’s March on Washington and Austin:
Women of Color, We Cannot Do This Without You!
Dr. Mary Kaye N. Johnson

“Are we sleeping? Are we awake? Are we daydreaming? Are we choosing to ignore what is transpiring around and within us? Where is our focus? What are the matters of the collective heart? What will we do with the hurt? Where do we direct our harvested anger? How do we unify and ignite the fire of change? When do we put our pride aside? Shall we ever truly get out of our own way and give the people a chance to overcome?”

These heartfelt, soul stabbing questions give me chills as I pose them to my fellow Black and Brown Queens, also regarded as Women of Color (WOC). The world has never been kind to us, our men, or our children. Nothing done today or tomorrow can change the years of hate, condemnation, or the psychological and physical trauma endured by our ancestors and that will regrettably be passed down our family lineages for years to come. But there is one powerful fact that hoovers over all creation and that is we are the backbone of civilization and we are still standing in spite of everything that was done to break our spirit and existence. We should not attribute this victory to us. It is by the grace and mercy of God that He has chosen to breathe perseverance, strength, and composure into our lungs so that we might lead by an anointed example and draw our very enemies into the Light. However, we will never fulfill that purpose if we continue to stand in opposition to God’s will for us. You may ask yourself, “What is this woman talking about and why?” Please listen closely:

Black and Brown women have long been waiting for the day and set time that lawmakers, politicians, City Councils and the like will hear us and cease to allow the inbred iniquity that continues to obstruct us from operating in our full potential within and outside of our own communities, businesses, schools, occupations, and places of leisure. We have long proclaimed that we are not pets or prized possessions to be manipulated and flaunted for the mere entertainment or opportunistic advancement of other races and cultures while ours never see nor enjoy the fruits of our labor. The reality is simple but painful for some to conceptualize; we are one people who either advance together or not at all! Thus, when we pray for a breakthrough in the form of change or a seat at the table, my Queens, we must be ready to adjust our crowns and receive all that we have asked for when it is presented to us. The Lord never told us how or when He would answer our prayers and begin the transformation that we seek. He only called us to be ready and accountable (1 Peter 2:5,9-10; Exodus 19:4-6; Romans 1:5-6; John 15:10)!

The Women’s March on Washington taking place in January 2017 as well as the sister March on Austin (occurring the same day) is not only our call, but the anticipated answer and precise moment to show the world that Black and Brown women embrace the same solidarity that we persistently and justly plead for. More importantly, we should accept the love and support which we have solicited. Life teaches us that things do not always manifest in the way that we personally envision them and for good reason. I do not trust man to act without selfish intent, resentment, or contempt. However, through trials and many tribulations, I have learned to trust God and acknowledge that He has always been in control and drafts an unfailing plan for every situation but simply uses us to carry it out. He knows our limitations and capabilities and I cannot think of one time in which His master plan did not work for the good of all. The national organizers of the Women’s March are asking that all women come together and collectively march on January 21, 2017 for the injustices suffered by women everywhere, inclusive of those historically and currently tormenting Black and Brown communities. Contrary to popular belief, we do not lose by participating and displaying the very love that our world needs and cannot persevere without. Our particular group of Queens exemplifies love and it should be an honor to demonstrate how one moves past (but never forgets) her deep wounds and postures herself side by side with allies who believe in the same love that she does. By obedience and association, we inevitably obtain the desires of our heart. Our allies possess the keys to doors that have been deliberately inaccessible to us. We have nothing to lose but our chains by freeing our hearts and minds of the distractions, the play on semantics, and the obscure rationalizations that will only impede the unification of America.

I want to clear the air and inform those of you who are concerned that nobody has stolen anything from us or erased our accomplishments. I have heard, was bothered by, then personally investigated the plea that Black and Brown women should refrain from supporting the upcoming Women’s March due to the original name of the march, “One Million Woman,” being imitative of the 1997 march led by Black women (Million Woman March). Next, there was an uproar about the name being modified to its present title, “March on Washington,” because it mirrored the notorious march of 1963 organized by the beloved Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At first glance, it did not appear that the appropriate research was conducted. Might I ask though, would it behoove us to at least sit at the table and obtain more information about why the names of our prolific marches have resurfaced and inquire about the possibility that the use of “March on Washington” is not theft but paying homage to a similar (not exact) cause of its preceding marches? Are we really going to continue to waste our powerful and instrumental voices arguing over the title of the march when our future is at stake? Imagine the celebration the devil will have at that response. Find comfort in knowing that Dr. Bernice King, the youngest and only living daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has given her blessing and support for the use of the title and views it as a continuation of the movement her father courageously started. That alone is monumental and inspiring.

There is momentum building with or without us and not participating only nullifies every protest, rally, speech, letter, teardrop, and prayer that we have ever partaken in. The upcoming March on Washington and March on Austin is very much so different from its antecedent. It symbolizes our disdain for the lack of concern and equality for women’s rights in this day and time. Furthermore, it sends a strong message to President-elect Trump, his assembling Administration, and his followers that the sexist remarks verbalized throughout his campaign and any agenda he may have to proliferate the objectification and/or marginalization of women will not be quietly accepted or tolerated during his tenure.

My Queens, we must accept that this march is not a “Black thing” and that is okay because we stand for so much more than just Black civil liberties and can rightfully attend to those matters while supporting this one too. Because guess what? We represent them all! If we truly want to lessen the divide, we must first recognize then cease our contributions to the division. We have been asked, almost begged for our input in the planning process and our presence at this march. Consider the statement we are making by opting not to assist or attend based upon erroneous information and false pride. Behaving in this manner stagnates us even further as a race but this time at our own hands and not those of an oppressor. At times, it may be hard to believe in this cold world but you are wanted and needed. Women of all other races are predominantly represented and ready to take Washington D.C. and Austin by storm. Let us do this for our ancestors, for our civil rights leaders, and for HERstory! God needs you, America needs you, and I need you. Answer the call!

“We are alert and ready to move. We are not afraid. We are united women who are called and willing to lead the movement for change!”