Commentary by KAY MATTHEWS
In conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington there will marches in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque on January 21, the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States. I gag as I write the last part of that sentence: we’re talking about a demagogue who represents a potential descent into neo-fascism. But hope still exists: he could be indicted on numerous criminal charges or conflicts of interest; the electoral college could mutiny; or (allow me a feeble attempt at humor) he could decide that he doesn’t really want to be president after all because you have to actually think critically, pay attention to advisors, and make it through meetings without falling asleep, none of which DT does well or at all (like Ronald Reagan). In the meantime, let’s hit the streets and organize.
The Albuquerque Women’s March will be held at Civic Plaza with a rally from 11 am to 1 pm. The Facebook page states: “The rally is to show solidarity across the nation and at home for the DC March, which highlights that women’s rights are human rights. The mission of the rally is foremost to join the many unique cultural groups across New Mexico into one unified and diverse voice and to educate about how we can take positive and peaceful action to preserve our constitutional rights.”
The Santa Fe Women’s March will be held at the Roundhouse from 11 am to 2 pm. This is the Mission statement from the Facebook page: “To stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
I’m going to the Women’s March on Washington D.C. on January 21 as well as the ANSWER Coalition’s protest at Freedom Plaza on the day of the inauguration, January 20. I haven’t been to a protest march in D.C. since November of 1969 when I went to the massive—500,000 strong—Moratorium march against the war in Vietnam. We drove from campuses all over the U.S. two days before the march to also participate in the March against Death, which began on Thursday evening and continued throughout that night and all the next day. Holding placards with the name of a dead American soldier we marched silently down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House where we called out our soldier’s name and then deposited the placards in coffins in front of the Capitol building. The rally was held on the national mall near the Lincoln Memorial.
This time around the powers that be— National Park Service ― on behalf of Trump’s Presidential Inauguration Committee ― have blocked the Lincoln Memorial, as well as large sections of the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue from the more than 20 groups (including #Disruptj20, sponsoring an all day rally at McPherson Square) applying for protest permits. This means we will literally be in the streets: the Women’s March will be gathering at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, near the U.S. Capitol, at 10:00 am. We will be surrounded by Trump supporters, some of whom have consistently expressed their bigotry and hatefulness towards women, people of color, Muslims, Jews, and other minorities. But people from all over the United States will be riding in cars, buses, trains, and planes to get to D.C. by the thousands to express their solidarity against hate.
Here’s a photo of a 1913 Women’s Suffrage March.
As soon as I heard about the Trump protests I knew I wanted to go back to D.C. I have the time, and money for a plane ticket, which wasn’t always the case during the interim years when Mark and I built a house, raised two kids, and published La Jicarita News for 20 years (there were plenty of protests and demonstrations in those years as well but they took place at home in New Mexico). I’ll be staying with a college (Antioch) friend who was with me at the Moratorium March in D.C. I’ll be traveling with a former Taoseña who now lives in Virginia.
Which brings me to my reader request. My Taoseña friend is an artist and she’s already thinking about the signs we’ll carry with us. What should they say? The creativity of the activist crowd were on display in the marchers and protests that took place throughout the obscenely long election campaigns; we’re looking for something with maybe a little local flavor to add to our anti-Trump message. If anyone has any ideas, please send them along.