Before you get confused, this article is not about the Women’s March on Washington, it’s about this weekend’s March on Monument in RVA.
Like many of us, Melissa Brooks and Beth Fuchs found themselves with their jaws on the floor as the General Election results became clear. It felt like we were on course to reverse any progress we’d made in the efforts to secure the rights of women, people of color, immigrants, practicers of all sorts of religions, and LGBTQ individuals. They also experienced the same electric jolt to do something, anything, that would help.
Over the next few weeks, little groups focusing on various inclusivity efforts started springing up alongside calls to help out existing groups. The Women’s March on Washington (set for January 21st) was established, and signups reached impressive levels within days. The energy was good, but it felt scattered, and these two friends wondered what could be done to help people, women in particular, to connect the dots.
Where, in Richmond, could they find kindred spirits with which to organize? How could they all come together to make a statement that our city has a thriving community of welcoming individuals? What would show the nation that Richmond is determined to remain a safe haven for its citizens as well as its visitors?
Well, a giant peaceful gathering sure might do the trick!
What is this gathering of which you speak?
The March on Monument is an event that Melissa, Beth, and some other fine folks have organized for us. Thank you, Melissa, Beth, and folks!
They’ve done all the confusing and often frustrating permit stuff, raised the money for those permits, organized volunteers, secured a great program of speakers and a whole slew of volunteer organizations to come have a presence, and they’re spreading the word themselves.
All we gotta do is show up!
Where: The March begins at the Lee monument on Monument Avenue and N. Allen Street
When: This Saturday, January 14 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Objective: Connect social justice-minded Richmonders with other social justice-minded Richmonders, give volunteer organizations a chance to get their word out, and show the rest of Richmond that they’re accepted no matter who they are.
Who should come?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, this event is for you:
- Do you want people to feel like they are accepted in Richmond regardless of their sex, color, or creed?
- Do you worry that this may not always be the case?
- Are you a woman and/or a person who believes that women should be on an equal footing with men? (Bonus! If you answer this one positively, congratulations, you are a feminist! Maybe you had no idea!)
- Do you want to know what you can do in your community to make a difference?
- Do you feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start?
Well, come on down to Allen and Monument, friends, because that’s your starting point.
In the words of march co-organizer Melissa Brooks, “Start here, come here, be here together. Let others hear and see you, and hear and see others. Let Richmond see you.”
“That’s a power move that women have not traditionally taken,” she continues. “Women are in the background, they’re behind the scenes, they’re working. We want to say, ‘Here we are, and we have concerns. We’re not going to go quietly in the night. It’s really a unification for men and women.”
What’s going to happen?
Beginning at 1pm and lasting until 1:45pm, you’ll have an opportunity to walk around and talk to some folks from various volunteer organizations. Then, a few strong and inspiring women will take the stage.
The lineup includes:
- Melanie Mullen from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
- Beth Marschak from Richmond Lesbian-Feminists
- Free Egunfemi of Untold RVA
And then we march, walking the eight blocks to the Boulevard. Bring a sign, bring your friends, bring your family, bring your neighbors (particularly the ones without transportation), and…don’t bring your dogs, please.
Then at the end, newly elected State Senator Jennifer McClellan will do her motivating thing (and she is very motivating!), sending us all off for a life that will have more connections, more ideas, and more solidarity.
Let’s just get this out there, what if I voted for Trump?
Listen, you are welcome. If you answer any of those questions above positively, then you will show the powers that be that intolerance has no place here. It doesn’t matter who you voted for, it just matters that you show them you mean business.
What will I get out of this?
You’ll know that there are things you can do, and that you aren’t alone. You will show others that they aren’t alone. You will feel hope and you will pride. And then maybe you will go get a tattoo to commemorate the experience and benefit Planned Parenthood. Not required, but pretty cool.