The Women’s March in Oakland was one fabulous event: at least 60,000 – and up to 100,000 – people of all ages and ethnicities turned out to send the message: we will do what it takes to defend and advance women’s rights. At least 1.1 million marched in California alone, and worldwide, about 5 million.
The economics of demonstrations are sobering. One five-hour event can cost upward of $200,000. Consider the hundreds of Marches on Jan 21st, and we’re talking millions of dollars to take to the streets for one day.
How do we translate that action into the nitty-gritty work? By supporting organizations whose daily effort is to build the power of women.
Oakland Women’s Center in West Oakland, CA opened in May 2015. 165 women, mostly low-income, are now registered members. They bring to the Center the full spectrum of issues born of poverty: homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse, domestic abuse, trauma from dysfunctional families, lack of education, and chronic health problems. We work with each of them them to find solutions, a path forward to the lives they want.
Four to six new members register each month. The Center needs to expand service capacity. Yet, we have few assured sources of funds even to sustain the current level of operation – and not for lack of effort
It’s the eternal conundrum of non-profits in general, and women’s organizations in particular.
Can we look to the rising womanist tide to sustain the work? That’s our best-case scenario. Building a bigger network of contributors is our challenge. Who’s out there to help?