Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Oakland Women's March

*Wow, I meant to post this a really, really long time ago. Like when it was still January, when the march had just happened? Whoops. Anyway, hi friends! I'm back! <3 For now anyway hahah.*

Oakland Women's March, Pussyhat

In the beginning of January, my co-worker, Meg, told me about The Pussyhat Project because she was knitting some hats to send to DC for the Women's March. I loved the idea behind the movement (+ they are so cute; the subtle-yet-inappropriate name, the cat ears), but I don't know how to knit. I think learning how to knot would be cool, but I'm not great at teaching myself those kind of skills so we'll see if that ever happens, hahah. Learning how would probably make my mom happy, because instead of learning how to make my own pussyhat, I asked her to make me one :P

Anyway, talking about the Pussyhat Project made me think a lot about the Women's March itself. I was in full support of it, but the idea of me, actually going to one, just hadn't popped into my head for some reason. I'm a passive person. I have a lot opinions but I don't always do a lot about it :( I've decided I want to start doing more to help, instead of just being sad about it. At the very least I want to work on being more informed. I read some of the news online, but I could be doing more. The following week, Meg told me her and a friend decided to go to the march in Oakland, and asked if I wanted to go. Yes, of course I wanted to go!

Our journey started the second we got to the BART station. I was complimented on my hat (thanks mom!!!), and when I asked which stop we were getting off at and how much money to put on my BART pass, five different women in line shouted the answer because it was obvious we were all going to the same place. I've ridden BART a handful of times in the past, but no other ride was even a fraction as packed as our ride to Oakland that day. When we got on the train there were some seats, but plenty of standing room so we just grabbed a handle and hung on tight. By the time we made it to our stop at the Lake Merritt BART station, there was hardly room to breath, let alone move. So many women! Also some men, but mostly women! Half of them wearing pink pussyhats just like mine. Lots of jokes about us all being "nasty women." (I now have a pin to wear on my hat that says "nasty woman" but no one else seems to get it and instead find it inappropriate, so I got embarrassed and took it off my hat, very sad.) When we got off the train there was quite a traffic jam getting out of the BART station. They eventually turned off the down escalator so more people could get out instead.

Pussyhat, nasty woman,
Sorry, Nasty Women Pin; no one here in town understands us.
But don't worry, there's still at least 4.2 million people that do.
(Pin from Made Au Gold)

We eventually made it to the march starting point and waited for things to begin. Not sure exactly what happened, but the march started over an hour late. That was ok though, it was fun just taking in the scene and energy of everyone around us. We were also given some sweet bumper stickers (where should I put them? don't say my car.) and my friend gave out the extra pussyhats she had made and brought with her. People loved them! It was really cool seeing all the signs people brought with them. I didn't bring one because I didn't want to carry a big sign on the BART >_>

Finally we started moving. It started off slow, as there was so many of us and maybe the people up front didn't know exactly which way we were going? Or they felt timid? I don't know. Either way a bit later they all found their footing and it felt like an actual march, rather than just inching down the street at a snails pace. People started chanting and singing songs to the beat of the drums playing in the front of the lines (courtesy of Sistah Boom). As an introvert it's not really in my nature to shout and chant along, so while I was definitely a bit quieter than many of the other marchers, I felt really inspired, empowered, and just excited to be a part of it.

On the BART ride home, Meg and I talked about how we wanted to find ways to show support for all the things we were marching for, like finding places to volunteer and stuff. So a few days later I contacted Planned Parenthood to see if they needed some volunteers. They didn't. On one hand I was bummed, like "I'm trying to do good things! Let me do good things with you." But on the other hand I thought it was great that they have so much help that they don't even know what to do with it all. They told me to sign up for their mailing list, where they post about volunteer opportunities when they need more help for bigger projects (like for events and things). So who knows, maybe I'll be able to volunteer with them later on. What organizations do you volunteer with? Let me know in the comments so I can see if they are in my area as well :) Now that I'm in wedding planning mode I'm not sure how much time I can contribute, but I'm still looking to do something.

While searching for more volunteer opportunities, I saw someone share the link for 10 Actions / 100 Days, which was put together by the great minds behind the Women's March on Washington. "Every 10 days we will take action on an issue we all care about." Basically it's targeted towards people just like me. You just got back from the march and thought, "what else can I do?" I really like it because it's about ways you can help without sacrificing a lot of time  and resources (not that the cause isn't worth it, but when you work it can be hard to fit all those things in; even though I wanted to volunteer at Planned Parenthood, I knew it was not something I could afford to do ALL THE TIME). Or for some people, even if they have the time, they don't have the resources to go places to volunteer, or the money to donate to causes. Even though 10 Actions / 100 Days just started, I feel like they're doing their best to make sure the tasks are things that anyone can accomplish. The first action was to send postcards to your Senators about what matters most to you, and how you're going to fight for it in the days/weeks/months ahead. They even provided printable postcards for you to use, and a nifty tool for you to type in your zip code and it will provide the names and addresses of your senators. All you have to do is print, fill it out, and mail. I already mailed mine ;)

Here's a few other resources I like:
- What You Can Do to Stand with Planned Parenthood
- 7 Real Actions You Can Take After the Women's March, and 1 Thing You Shouldn't
- Poster! Maybe print it out and hang somewhere for the Pussyhat Global Virtual March on March 8th???

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