I've never seen anything like it

by Maureen Fiedler

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Major planning is in progress for the Women's March on Washington, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21 — the day after the inauguration. I'm not an organizer of the march, but I planned to participate as soon as I heard about it. And the women who initiated it are moving full steam ahead with their plans. To learn details, here is the website.

This is not a march for women alone; thousands of men are planning to join. And it is shaping up to be much more than a clarion call for women's rights; it will be an important statement for social justice on all levels, and an action in strong opposition to Trump and his policies.

The website for the march lays out its mission beautifully:

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us — immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault — and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women's March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.           

Now, I've personally participated in dozens of marches over the years: in support of civil rights, women's rights and sound policies to combat climate change. And I've marched against U.S. involvement in wars in Vietnam, Central America and Iraq.

But I have to admit, I have never seen such widespread desire to participate in a march as I am seeing with the Women's March on Jan. 21. My neighbors, who express political views quite freely but rarely march about them, are going to the march, in force. Many of them are housing marchers from out of town. Sisters and co-members in the Loretto Community are either coming to Washington for the march or joining a "sister march" in their home city. (For the record, there are 281 such "sister marches" in the United States and 34 other countries. Here is a list.

To put it bluntly, many people are worried that the very future of our democracy is at stake with the new administration, and our founding values are too precious to leave undefended.

This is, in essence, a march for social justice, a march any Catholic should be proud to join, in Washington, D.C., or elsewhere.

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