January 22, 2017

I’m a Woman, but I didn’t March on January 21st.

All across social media, I am witnessing waves of warrior women with signs attending the many Women’s Marches on January 21st.

I’m inspired—ignited even—by the impassioned involvement. But I didn’t join them.

Attending a march would require me to skip a commitment I have every Saturday morning. Each week, I lead a poetry and creative writing group for residents of an addiction rehab facility. These folks are in their own day-to-day battle. Often, they are resistant—shifting between apathy and rage as they rebel against their decision to try and kick their hellish habits and redirect their lives.

Change is hard.

Many weeks it feels like my presence there isn’t changing or helping anything at all. I considered skipping this week’s session to attend one of the women’s marches. Leading this writing group is tough and maybe I deserved a break. And hey, going to a women’s march would be historic and…big.

But here’s the thing: in the last few weeks, the folks in this group began shifting ever so slightly. They started to let me in a little and started letting their stories out. Now, we’re working on creating a group poetry project and spoken word video, when just a few weeks ago some of them were walking out, lashing out, or choosing to sleep in the session instead.

Change is possible.

So, this weekend I chose to show up for the writing group. I remind myself and anyone else who might need to hear that sometimes the grandest gestures of activism are in your own backyard and involve staying committed to what you’re already doing.

Maybe your little revolutions won’t be televised or tweeted. But they matter nonetheless.

So march and make noise. Be vigilant and vociferous. Love your family better. Put down your phone and be present with those around you. Keep your commitments. Make time. Make art. Tell the truth. Tell your story. Or listen to someone else’s. Let’s all keep at it in big and small ways.

My way is through the poetic word. This one for you, for me, for all of us:

We are the ones
To make America great
We the people
We must create

So lament
Then, with love
Remove head from sand

We made this bed
Let’s get moving
Hold hands

It’s not too late
We must
Bear the weight
Of the Light…



Author: Marie Whitman

Image: Flickr/Rian Castillo

Editor: Callie Rushton

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