Be resilient, be strong, be determined, be hopeful.
In the 1840s, there was an abolitionist conference in London.
The leaders refused to allow the women delegates from the U.S. to take their seats, so those delegates, along with the wives of the other abolitionists, met in a separate room; angry, focused and determined they birthed the suffragette and women’s movement.
This is what happens when determined women gather.
In 1986, my mom and I hopped on a crowded bus full of determined women to go to Washington, D.C., to support the National Organization of Women in opposing the impending threats to abortion rights. We held them off.
Again, this is what happens when determined women gather.
Yesterday, 31 years later I marched in Raleigh, North Carolina while my mom marched in Philadelphia. My sister marched in Boston with her daughter, to fight for many of the rights many of us thought we already won.
With joy, determination, and anger, we exercised our first amendment rights:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free-exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Now the marches are over.
The news is filled with stories of what millions of women in hundreds of rallies accomplished. My friends are sharing their stories on Facebook from all over the world.
It is today that the real work will begin.
As we begin our work, here are four tips to all of us:
Build resilience through self-care.
It is only in taking caring of ourselves, in nurturing our inner light that we can be of service and be resilient enough to face what comes.
Be ever vigilant.
Like many friends and family members, I find myself torn between burying my head in the sand and obsessively reading every news story that appears.
To be effective and successful, it’s about finding a good balance. We must be aware of what is going on around us and to issue calls of action, make phone calls, send emails, and march again as soon as it is needed as well as to celebrate victories and successes.
This is a time that will be well defined in history and my hope is that we look back and see it as the start of something powerful and good. When we are not vigilant, when we do not pay attention, innocent people suffer and bad triumphs, we cannot let this happen.
Support one another as women and as people.
There are so many issues being discussed. Reading the signs at the rallies around the world yesterday demonstrated that we were protesting on many fronts.
As we begin the real work of resisting, there will be many debates and conversations. This is right and good, there should be and they should carry with them great passion. They do not, however, require anger, meanness, vindictiveness or hatred.
Be kind and be grateful.
It is good for our brains to be kind and to experience feelings of gratitude. In the days, weeks and months to come, as we organize and act, we can do so with kindness and grace, we can demonstrate the type of change we want to see in this world.
And, I am grateful to the millions who cared enough to protest yesterday, grateful that I came home to a warm dry house with good food in it, grateful that I went to the protest with loved ones. I am also grateful that I live in a country where the first amendment to our constitution allows such protests.
It’s an exciting, scary, motivating, frightening, mixed up time.
Together we can change the world!
Author: Wendy Kuhn
Image: Elephant Journal Instagram
Editor: Sara Kärpänen