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Millions Marched. What Comes Next?

Millions Marched. What Comes Next?
This Saturday I was out in the streets in solidarity with my sisters across the country. We marched together for the freedom, safety, and health of all women. We marched in the context of a nation where a vile misogynist has recently ascended to power, whose regime threatens the freedom and well-being of women (and pretty much everyone else, too!).

It was an amazing thing to see this demonstration blossom into probably the largest single day of protest in American history. It’s estimated that there were roughly 500,000 people in the streets of Washington, 750,000 in Los Angeles, and well over 100,000 in several other large cities. What is perhaps just as impressive is that there were sizeable protests in small towns, rural areas, and mid-sized cities in deeply “red” states. The women of the United States have shown that opposition to the proto-fascist Republican agenda is strong, broad-based, and in a state of mobilization. 

In the wake of this incredibly successful march, there has been some legitimate criticism. Some have pointed out that the Black Lives Matter movement protests have been just as peaceful as the Women’s March. Yet BLM participants have been subject to police harassment, intimidation, and demonization by the corporate media. When people of color march, they’re often labeled “thugs.” Sometimes it seems like only white people are permitted to have their political disagreements heard without an immediate – and often violent – rebuke from power. 

These critiques are valid, and they need to be taken seriously. White Americans like me and my family need to do better at hearing the voices of our black and brown brothers and sisters, even when those voices disturb our comfort. White folk like me have a long way to go as we seek a movement that truly embraces the leadership of our black and brown sisters and brothers. May God inspire white Americans with a spirit of repentance and reconciliation. May the Holy Spirit break down barriers that keep us from embracing the vision and leadership of people of color.

It is critical that we lament and acknowledge these racial divisions, and our shortcomings as white people in the movement for justice. At the same time, I believe it is good and appropriate to be joyful. This weekend we witnessed a powerful upswelling of hope and resistance in the face of oppression. The Women’s March was one very important step in the mobilization of a new movement for human rights, democracy, and the restoration of the Republic.

For me, and for many of us, the biggest question now is: How do we move forward? How do we build on the gains of the past week and focus our energy towards grassroots movement-building? Because we are in this for the long haul.

During the Occupy movement, many of us came to understand that our role was to plant a seed. We couldn’t predict the long-term changes that would come as a result of our public witness. We couldn’t control how others reacted. We simply made the decision to declare the truth boldly, trusting that a power greater than ourselves was at work in the world.

The fruit of Occupy is sprouting, and new seeds are being planted. Millions of people took their first steps into the movement this weekend. Organizations large and small are finding new life and strength in this important moment. Across our nation, the friends of Jesus are being drawn deeper into a path of radical discipleship that challenges the false claims of Empire and the 1%.

Here in Washington, DC, we are gathering in homes. We’re sharing food and praying together. We’re listening together for how Jesus is directing us into concrete action for justice. This weekend, in preparation for the Women’s March, some of us took part in active bystander nonviolence training. We will continue to meet together for fellowship in homes and shared spaces. We will continue to gather for prayer, teaching, and the breaking of bread. As crisis accelerates, we are being drawn closer together in discipleship to Jesus.

We have the momentum now. In the midst of challenge, we are discovering faith anew. We welcome you to join us. Whether here in DC, or in another little community of Jesus followers, join us. Experience the fellowship that Jesus is gathering. Embrace the joy that he gives us as we seek his justice, his mercy, his kingdom.

Whatever you do, don’t stop organizing. Don’t stop gathering. Don’t stop dreaming, speaking, writing. It has taken decades – and, in some ways, centuries – for our nation to reach this moment of crisis. There is no quick and easy way out. But together we can find it. Together, we can be the light.

Related Posts:

Is the Church Strong Enough to Resist Trump?

We’re All in the Wilderness Now. What Comes Next?

  • Traci Kristine Rowland

    Thank you, Micah..

  • Keith Saylor

    Yes, it is a blessing to testify to the witness that there is a different way than the way of gaining meaning and purpose through identification with outward political and religious ideologies and agendas and those teachers and ministers who profess and promote them. We share this different way with our millions of sisters who are concerned over current outward political circumstance of a Trump Presidency and those millions of sisters who are supportive of President Trump.

    Sharing this different way of experience through the inshining appearance of the Light itself in itself that discovers to us a conscious anchored in and a conscience informed by the inshining Light itself in itself without regard for outward political and religious constructs and institutions offers the way of coming out of the process of being that is anchored to and informed by outward teachers who render for religious doctrine and political ideology the traditions and prescriptions of Men and Women who would rule over the conscience of others.

  • Howard Brod

    Sentiments and actions derived from the ego characterize political action, whereas sentiments and actions derived from divine love characterize spiritual action. I believe as Quakers we are called to the latter and not the former. Our well-known testimonies do not call us to political action; they call us to spiritual action.

    The ego will always want us to devolve into a campaign of smearing individuals, re-acting out of fear, losing all sense of respect as anger descends upon us and impatience begins to control us. The ego blinds us to think our ‘cause’ or political view is right and another’s ‘cause’ or view is wrong, because the ego does not want to join with those egos in opposition; it would rather have these ‘others’ feel as though they have “lost” as we “win”.

    God as explained by Jesus and other enlightened spiritual leaders does not see people as ‘losers’ or ‘winners’. Divine love recognizes that together we are all just people who are trying to chart our way. This divine love is what ‘seeing that of God in others’ is all about.

    I don’t participate in political action anymore because I have come to the place where I am uncomfortable with such loud calls for my ego to become in control of me. As James Schultz reminded us, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his eternal soul?”.

    Divine love will always ask us to see divine love in others as we seek the way forward together. It asks us to listen to opposing voices so that we may hear their concerns, their fears, their hardships, their hopes – so we may become humbled as even Jesus was when on Earth, all the while holding fast to our place of Love, Light, and Truth. Divine love asks us to be patient as God is patient with each of us – even if Truth does not emerge within or without in our earthly lifetime.

    The above description of Divine love may not be dramatic as the ego would prefer our ‘action’ to be. But it fulfills the spiritual truth to “love thy enemy” by our actions whenever we engage them by our spiritual entreaty to their heart rather than their ego.