I’ve written extensively about the struggles of women living on the margins of our prosperous city, and the need for resources that help advance them. At some time in all women’s lives, the adjectives “vulnerable” and “marginalized” apply. Do we forget?
The messages streaming from the organizers of the Women’s March urge us to RSVP to a March, DONATE, and most recently are pushing to sell March merchandise ( t-shirts etc.). An earlier email mentioned the formation of policy groups, but no one responded to a query.
The Women’s March risks becoming a ’cause’ unto itself.
Consider the costs of dozens of Marches in major US cities. I can only guesstimate it’s in the double digit MILLIONS of dollars – much of it for police “protection.”
It’s the new nexus for donations to “Women’s Issues,” usually the least funded of all human services.
If a one-day event can induce an outpouring of so much money, but none of it is publicly earmarked to serve the most vulnerable women, then we have a serious failure to define purpose.
How can the March induce hundreds of thousands of women to gather and NOT enable them to do something more effective than carry signs?
What’s needed now in Oakland – and probably most major cities:
Sufficient safe and comfortable space for all women who need shelter from domestic violence;
A safe place for women to discover and receive the help they need to finish high school, learn computers, prepare for a job, get low-cost counseling, hang with other women, and learn to value their uniqueness. Too many women ravaged by poverty have a LOT of healing to do.
An initiative to educate EVERYONE our community about how to end violence against women;
A campaign to induce local major employers give public evidence of equal pay – or correct the inequalities.
That’s for starters.
When will the connection between March activism and effective community action begin? Will the Marches disclose their finances, and will they opt to serve real needs? It’s an open question that begs response.