A call for justice on January 21

by Maureen Fiedler

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Unless you have been comatose for the last six months, you surely know that Friday, Jan. 20 is inauguration day for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. But you may or may not have heard about the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21.

That march will take place on the Mall in Washington, D.C., where the plan is to march from the Capitol to the White House. The march has received a legal permit.

It all started with Teresa Shook, a retired attorney living in Hawaii. She voiced the idea to friends initially and then posed the question of such a march on Facebook. Responses exploded. More than 100,000 people (men and women) have voiced support and pledged to take part. Now, organizers say they expect at least 200,000. There are also solidarity marches planned in major cities around the United States, places like St. Louis, Denver, Boston and Philadelphia.

The leaders of this effort have been clear that this is not a march just for women; men are encouraged to participate as well. I hope that thousands of men do, in fact, join in. I myself know several who are planning to come.

This event was initially designed to highlight the importance of women's rights across the board, including an end to workplace discrimination and in favor of equal pay for equal work. But the issues to be highlighted have grown to include immigrants' rights, an end to police violence in African-American communities, preserving Obamacare, environmental sanity, gun control, criminal justice reform and peaceful relations around the globe. This is, in other words, a march for justice in the age of Trump.

Now the organizers say this is not a protest against Trump's inauguration, but it is hard to see how that interpretation can be avoided. The values of the organizers of this march are anathema to almost everything Trump stands for.

I know dozens of Catholic women (and men) who plan to join — either in Washington or in other cities — and I'm sure there are thousands more anxious to make their voices heard. But some may be reluctant, especially if they think this event will focus on reproductive policies with which some might not agree. Some demonstrators might have such a focus, but the march is designed to highlight women's rights across the board and dozens of other issues endangered by a Trump presidency.

Although most of the major women's organizations are on board with the march, none is the central sponsor. It is being organized by a group of independent women who simply came up with a great idea.

So this is a time to join together is a first act of resistance to the Trump agenda. See you there!

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