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Insights / January 24, 2017

Rise Up!

By Liz Tupper

This past Saturday I marched in the Women’s March in my hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. To say the event was a life changing experience would be an understatement. I marched for many reasons, but mostly because I really want this world to be a better place for all women, children, and men.

As a cisgender straight white woman, I realize I am late to the party in making my voice heard. In many ways, my actions have been subpar. I have been a bystander who occasionally shares or writes political posts on social networks. I have embarrassingly signed petitions and immediately forgotten about them five minutes later. It’s unfortunate that it had to get to this point for me to act, but it’s not too late. I am here now!

The Women’s March was the largest political protest in U.S. History currently estimated between 3.2 million and 4.7 million people. The march in St. Paul has been estimated at 100,000 marchers. Amazingly there was only one arrest, which ended up being a counter-protester. Why is that? Well, the majority of marchers were women, and of those women the majority were white. As a white woman, I know I am privileged mostly to be seen as harmless and not a threat.

So what’s next? If you recognize your privilege, then exercise your empathy. I am going to ask those of you who have the privilege to march on the street safely to rise up and stand next to indigenous people, women of color, immigrants, the disabled, and the LGBTQ community. These communities have been rising up for years, decades, and even centuries.

Now is the time to get involved!

  • Call or write your senators.
  • Donate your time and money to organizations focused on social justice, climate change, healthcare, or any other issues that are at risk of or are currently being suppressed.
  • Use your eyes, ears, and voice.
  • Watch what is happening in your communities, expand your social networks to include people that don’t have your privilege.
  • Listen to those not being heard, and I mean REALLY listen.
  • Use your voice and privilege when it’s needed.

Lastly, I will leave you with a song from the play Hamilton. The song “My Shot” in many ways embodies the movement that is currently happening in our country today. This is what democracy looks like!

“Rise up!
When you’re living on your knees, you rise up
Tell your brother that he’s gotta rise up
Tell your sister that she’s gotta rise up”