In the immortal words of Mr. Jesse Williams it’s time to “disrupt their function!”-Ayisah Yusuf (Ice Turtle Girl) #WomensMarchOnWashington
This past week I participated in a many different actions, rallies & marches to protest the new administration coming in to take over the world. I started Wednesday, January 18th at the Thurgood Marshall Center in DC with my mom Rabiah Nur of Spring of Light & Ecohermanas where Angela Adrar Executive Director of Climate Justice Alliance & Ecohermanas sister Caryl Henry Alexander An Artist with Purpose were having an art build and reception for folks coming in for the It Takes Roots delegation of climate justice, housing justice, immigration justice, indigenous justice and more activist.
It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance joins together four powerful alliances of grassroots activists and frontline communities’ leaders: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), the Right to the City Alliance (RTC), and the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). The It Takes Roots collaboration between grassroots social movements began during the organizing for the Peoples Climate March in 2014, and continued through international climate justice mobilizations to Paris COP21 and Morocco COP22, as well as a Peoples Caravan during the 2016 elections from the Republican National Convention to the Democratic National Convention.
DJ Hugo Najera a local D.C. DJ was bumping the jams and there was a pretty good turn out to make art for the march. Then during the reception our Ecohermanas Joelle Robinson & Kari Fulton came to talk about local D.C. environmental justice work as well as the EJ work in Brazil with the MAB or Landless Workers Movement. A lady from MAB came to speak as well and show her solidarity with us. Lots of great art was made that night and a lot of fun was had by all.
The next day I came back to the Thurgood Marshall Center to help finish some of the art for the It Takes Roots Delegation for their matches & rallies on Friday at the EPA & HUD as well as the huge Disrupt J20 march. I helped paint houses, dollar signs and signs that said water defender, housing defender & defender of our bodies in both English and Spanish. I did that while some great conversations where had on housing and direct action among other things during their workshops.
In the evening a group of us went over to the International Indigenous Youth Council and Indigenous Environmental Networks #NoDAPL rally in front of the Oklahoma Inauguration party funded by the Koch brothers & Phillip 66 who is funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. Dallas Goldtooth, Kandi Mossett, Lauren “Twobreads” Howland and a few other relatives coming from Standing Rock gave speeches and prayers in front of their party to let them know we are not going down without a fight. A few of the folks inside where watching us from their window talking about us. We also did round dances as people drummed and sang with our banners and posters.
Friday the 20th the day before the march there where many rallies and actions happening all over the city in protest of his inauguration. Rallies like the Disrupt J20 where people went to the streets to disrupt his function as well as marches at the EPA, HUD and Malcolm X park by the It Takes Roots, IIYC & IEN. During these rallies people broke windows to cars, banks and vandalized the streets. As police clashed with the protesters and the media tried to make us all look bad (especially those of color).
During that time my mom & I went to the meeting of the Indigenous Women Rise sisters who are the indigenous women from all over turtle island who came to march. We got limited addition turquoise scarves made by Bethany Yellowtail with Indigenous Women Rise on the front as well as we learned the women honor song. Over 30 tribes were represented and came to D.C. From Hawaii to Alaska to Standing Rock to north, south, east and west of turtle island. After our meetup my mom & I went home to rest up for the next day.
Saturday the 21st was the big day. My mom & I got going at 7:30 am and took the metro in to town. Our metro was packed full of women which was really awesome. When we got to the city the streets where already super crowded with women, men & children and a lot of them had on these pink knitted pussy hats.
The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.
HEAR OUR VOICE.
It took us about 20 mins to make it to the National Museum of American Indians but once we got there people were giving speeches of who they were and why they were there. Then a sister came and did some drumming and singing and then more speeches were made while we whited for more people to come.
Once more people showed up we started our Indigenous Women Rise rally with our Women’s Honor Song then had different people come up give speeches, dance, drum, sing, tell stories and hype us up. It was a lot of fun being around our Indigenous sisters and brother relatives from all over turtle island. Eryn Wise and
Next was the march which with so many people there it got crazy from the start. First we got separated from our indigenous women and tried to find them in the large crowd. Then my mom went to the bathroom and I stayed with my mom’s friend and by the time she got back we had been swept away by the crowd. So then we tried to make it to the front of the crowd but by the time we got up there we found out that there was just too many people that only like a forth of the crowd ended up making it to the White House. On our way to the front of crowd we saw Alicia Keys on the sidewalk take pictures with people.
So then we went over to the National Museum of American Indian to have some lunch. While we were in line to get in to the museum Madonna was singing and then at the end of the program Yonasda Lonewolf, her cousin and another lady from Standing Rock sang a women’s honor song and did a prayer. After that my mom’s friend left and I went searching for my mom and then finally she called me and we met up. While my mom was separated from me she meet these super nice Tlingit sister Janie and brother Joseph plus their friend Sharky who had been up at Standing Rock at the Rosebud camp and was very vocal about what’s protecting the water, the land and Native rights. The sister had this cool hand tattoo which was a tribal tattoo. It wasn’t until around 7pm that we finally made it on to the metro.
After a long day of marching and dancing my mom and I were so tired but so rejuvenated. It felt so good to be around our indigenous relatives from all over Turtle Island. We are the last group to ever have our voices heard and it felt good to feel heard among our own on our lands. Sadly we didn’t get to lead the march but we did our own thing together unified for the fight to protect our women and our mother Earth. Great day was had by all nobody got arrested at the DC march and there were so many other incredible marches held all over the world. Women really are the future and it is our time to shine but don’t just stop at this rally keep up the momentum as we got a long way to go. My people have been through this for 500 years but still we have a long way too go.
All of this being said there where those that felt the brunt of white feminism at work during the march. That means that for some white women this is their first protest. Meaning before they didn’t think it was necessary for them to come out and support their sisters of color & LGBTQIA+ sisters in their struggles. That they finally feel like their rights are being violated just for being a women but might not actually come out and support anyone else. One Indigenous sister had a pretty bad experience with some white feminist who treated her culture as a costume and felt she didn’t exist. I personally was not their for the white feminist as I know how they can be. Now not all of them but a lot of them can be very divisive and only look out for themselves. Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham were both in attendance of marches both people who are toxic towards women of color. There of course where other awesome white feminist celebrities who were also in attendance who actually understand the concept of intersectionality. But of course some have always been our allies and supported us in our fights. But now that the women’s march is over we are hoping beyond hope that white women and white allies in general will come out to Black Lives Matter marches, Standing Rock actions, Immigration rallies, LGBTQIA+ protest and other disenfranchised groups in this country. Don’t just come out when it effects you directly we must come together and fight as a unit in order to make change in this world.
Here are some amazing pictures of some incredible women of color at the march.
I marched for all of my Indigenous sisters all over the world fighting for our bodies, our health, our Mother Earth & our Justice! Whether that be red, black, brown, yellow, green or purple 🌈We are the next 7 generations and the leaders of the 8th Fire it is our time to make a stand and to lead us all into the next phase of humans on Mother Earth! Like Minds & Spirits must stick together! Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ 👸🏽💦🐢✊🏽💜🌎🌝
Well Till Next Time…Stand Up & Fight!