Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s Reflection on the 2017 Women’s March — “Changing History”

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Crowd at the Women's March in Austin, Texas
Photo of a portion of the crowd at the Women’s March in Austin, Texas

 

A guest post by Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Ph.D.

In 1869, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and a few other women birthed the movement that gave women the right to vote.

In 1974, Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty birthed the Christian feminism movement with their book All We’re Meant to Be: A Biblical Approach to Women’s Liberation and their subsequent founding, along with a few other women, of an organization called the Evangelical Women’s Caucus (now known as Christian Feminism Today).

On November 9, 2016, Teresa Shook, a retired attorney and grandmother living in Hawaii, birthed a movement to preserve and expand women’s rights and all human rights. A small group of visionary women have changed the course of history.

The January 21, 2017, Women’s March on Washington began on November 9 with one woman creating a Facebook event page. Before she went to bed that night, she had 40 responses. When she woke up the next morning, she had more than 10,000. Soon sister marches sprang up in cities in all 50 U.S. states and more than 75 countries around the world.

The total number of people participating in this worldwide event is estimated to be 3.3 million people (low end estimate, other estimates range much higher).

Now I must tell you that I’d rather write than march. I’d rather be alone or with a few friends or family members than in large crowds. But I felt compelled to join the sister march in Austin, Texas, and I’m so glad I did. It was an incredible, empowering, inspiring experience.

Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Rev. Judith Liro at the Women's March in Austin, Texas
Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Rev. Judith Liro at the Women’s March in Austin, Texas

Finally getting through heavy traffic into Austin, I was moved to tears as I saw crowds of people gathering in colorful hats and shirts, holding signs with messages of justice and peace. I met my friends Judith Liro, priest of St. Hildegard’s Community (featured in She Lives! and on my blog), Francesca, Sarah, Wyatt, and others from St. Hildegard’s.

We were just in time to fall in step with the throngs to inch our way down Congress Avenue to the state Capitol. No one pushed or shoved or spoke anything but words of peace and kindness and passion for justice. Some held signs advertising “free hugs!” Many of the signs quoted Hillary Rodham Clinton’s famous statement at the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women: “Women’s rights are human rights.”

Excitement and joy filled the air as we marched for more than an hour to chants and drumming. We spoke with many people along the way, taking pictures with their enthusiastic permission. The amazingly diverse crowd, estimated at 50,000, moved slowly along, some in wheelchairs and some in baby strollers.  There were people of various ages, genders, races, gender identities, religions, abilities, political parties. Even dogs joined the march and were as polite as the people!

When we reached the Capitol, I was awestruck by the sea of people and signs. Our spirits continued to soar as we stood crammed together for more than two hours of stirring speeches and music.

Sheryl Cole, the first black woman elected to Austin City Council, told the crowd that her son attends the University of Pennsylvania where he received a mass text threatening him after the election. She told the cheering crowd she is now more “fired up” than ever to take action.

Congressman Lloyd Doggett also spoke words of hope: “This is not a time for despair; it’s a time for democracy.”

Sarah Wheat, Chief External Affairs Officer of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas called on us to challenge the Texas Legislature which  “every session tries to find a way to cut women’s health care.”

Chuck Smith of Equality Texas said his LGBTQ rights group came to stand in solidarity with Planned Parenthood to support health care access for all.

Senator Wendy Davis challenged us to take the energy of the march into local organizing, contacting representatives, and running for office. Pointing to the Goddess of Liberty crowning the Texas State Capitol dome, Wendy inspired us to protect and expand freedoms for women and for all.

The Women’s March renewed my resolve to work for women’s rights and all human rights through my participation in Equity for Women in the Church, Christian Feminism Today, Dallas Gathering of Religious Leaders, and other justice-making organizations.

Please join with me to celebrate Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Letha Dawson Scanzoni, Nancy Hardesty, Teresa Shook, and other visionary women, each of whom showed us how to change history.

© 2017 by Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Christian Feminism Today

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, Anne and Karen, for your comments!

    Anne, it’s wonderful that you participated in the Women’s March in Los Angeles and your daughter in Washington. We were in solidarity with women all around the country and the world.

    Karen, it’s exciting to meet a South African Christian feminist and to know you’re standing with your sisters in the US and around the world. It was horrifying that Trump was elected and that the majority of white evangelicals supported him, and he continues to horrify through his appointments and executive orders. You bring us hope by your reminder of Christian sisters standing together to end apartheid and your standing together with us and others around the world now to bring social justice and peace.

    I’ve written this song for the resistance movement that y’all are welcome to use if you’d like.

    The movement that rose up after the Women’s March inspired me to write “We Will All Resist” to the tune of “I Shall Not Be Moved.” I offer this for you to sing at rallies, marches, or other events. Just as singing has empowered the Civil Rights movement and the Labor movement, I believe that singing can empower this new movement.

    You see that “We Will All Resist” focuses on moral issues, and does not name people. These issues are all connected, and their order in the song does not indicate order of importance. When you sing this song, you can change the order to fit your event and/or add stanzas with other issues. I do ask that you not put names of people in the song, but keep the song focused on moral issues.

    You have my permission to print this song with my copyright at the bottom and/or to use the song in any venue.

    We Will All Resist

    We will rise up; we will all resist;
    we will rise up; we will all resist;
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Equal rights for women will not be denied;
    equal rights for women will not be denied,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Justice for all races will not be denied;
    justice for all races will not be denied,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Justice for all genders will not be denied;
    justice for all genders will not be denied,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Immigrants will not be ever turned away;
    immigrants will not be ever turned away,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Rights of workers will not ever be denied;
    rights of workers will not ever be denied,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Care of Earth will never ever be denied;
    care of Earth will never ever be denied,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Public schools will not be ever undermined;
    public schools will not be ever undermined,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Healthcare rights will never ever be denied;
    Healthcare rights will never ever be denied,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Travel bans will never ever be the law;
    travel bans will never ever be the law,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Women’s voices will not ever be shut down;
    women’s voices will not ever be shut down,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Human rights will never ever be denied;
    human rights will never ever be denied,
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    We will rise up; we will all resist;
    we will rise up; we will all resist;
    for we will rise up stronger all together;
    we will all resist.

    Words © 2017 Jann Aldredge-Clanton I SHALL NOT BE MOVED

    http://jannaldredgeclanton.com/blog/?p=5407

  2. Thank you, Jann, from a South African Christian feminist. We were horrified at the election of Trump here in Jozi, and that the majority of white evangelicals supported such a backward move. Here in Jozi we also have a populist backward thinking man as president. It was so encouraging to see the masses who turned up for the Women’s March all over the world. There is still hope in this reactionary world environment. Christian sisters stood together to end apartheid, too. Let us stand together again all over the world in a spirit of faith, hope and love to bring social justice everywhere. God bless.

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