When Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah Winfrey in December for her final interview as first lady, she expressed just how big and important a simple one-syllable word is: hope.
We at On The Dot share women’s stories to inspire and empower you, to bring a little hope into your everyday lives. Today, we offer a very special On The Dot because tomorrow, women are marching on Washington to let their voices be heard. We are banding together to demonstrate solidarity among women to bring a little hope into our future and the future of the next generation of women, and the next and the next. Will you stand with us?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 200,000 People
As of the time of compiling this story, there were some 200,000 people expected to attend tomorrow’s Women’s March on Washington. Women from throughout the country are traveling to our nation’s capital to voice our demands for equal rights and equal pay, for health care, safety and education, and for the freedom to be whoever we want to be.
In 1913, about 5,000 women marched on Washington to demand their right to vote. In 1977, 20,000 women occupied D.C., New York City and other metro areas in the name of equal rights. It can be easy to feel helpless, like no one cares what you have to say. But where would we be without the generations of women before us who had spoken out for what they believed in? Today, we stand on their shoulders and proudly declare: We demand our voices be heard!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Tamika Mallory, National Co-chair for the Women's March on Washington
A demonstration of this kind of capacity requires leadership from women who can unite a community of like-minded folks. One of the women who has indeed unified a nation of women to take to the streets of Washington, D.C., is Tamika Mallory. Tamika is the national co-chair for the Women’s March on Washington, which was coordinated by dozens of phenomenal women.
Activism runs in Tamika’s veins. Her parents, founding members of the National Action Network, would take her marching and rallying as a kid. At only 15 years old, she became the youngest staff member at the National Action Network, and worked her way up to executive director of the civil-rights organization during the course of 14 years.
Needless to say, the Women’s March on Washington isn’t Tamika’s first rodeo. In fact, she was a national organizer of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, an event that drew 300,000 people.
Tamika worked with the Obama administration to advocate against gun violence and police misconduct, as well as for civil rights and equal rights for women, and was applauded by that administration as a true “leader of tomorrow.”
One of Tamika’s most notable achievements involved helping to implement the New York City Crisis Management System, which awards almost $20 million a year to organizations focused on gun-violence prevention. For Tamika, gun violence is all too real. Sadly, about 15 years ago, a gunshot took the life of her son’s father, a terrible incident that forever changed her life and her son’s life. She understands the impact such violence can have on a family and on a community. And that’s why she is relentless in her activism and a leading figure in grassroots, community-based efforts.
In a Huffington Post article about why people march, Tamika explains that putting one foot in front of the other gives marchers a sense of progress, of hope, and that she’ll keep on marching until equal protection and absolute justice are provided to all Americans.
One phrase Tamika says her mother instilled in her is: “Don’t be anyone’s doormat.” For Tamika and hundreds of thousands of brave women tomorrow, marching is a way of telling society that we aren’t going to be anyone’s doormat. We are strong, smart, powerful women, and we will never back down!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Whether you’re marching on the streets of Washington, D.C., or sitting at home, your voice matters. I’ll leave you today with that thought and this quote by African-American writer and civil rights activist Audre Lorde:
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.