By Allihies Melton
“The revolution will be intersectional.”
This was said by the women who led the March for Black Women and the March For Racial Justice Sept. 30. Their chants were echoed by their allies and fellow protesters who marched behind them.
On a day that felt like the first day of fall, hundreds of people from both rallies assembled in Lincoln Park to advance to the National Mall, taking time to stand in front of the Department of Justice to discuss exactly how systematically oppressive the government is against people of color.
They chanted the names of black women who have been failed by government institutions and the legal system- who do not deem them worthy of upholding policies aimed to protect them or holding people accountable for their death and destruction. Some of these people include Betty Jean Owens, Fannie Lou Hamer, Relisha Rudd and the hundreds of black women who have been murdered, lynched and beaten throughout history.
According to the March for Black Women’s website, “Black women and comrades will unite and lock arms and march unapologetically at the center of the scheduled MARCH FOR RACIAL JUSTICE as our very own MARCH FOR BLACK WOMEN. We have always put it simply: Black women’s issues are racial justice issues. Black lived-experiences related to gender, sexuality, gender identity are-racial-justice-issues.”
The March for Racial Justice’s mission was “to harness the national unrest and dissatisfaction with racial injustice into a national mobilization that strengthens local and nationwide efforts for racial equity and justice,” according to their website.
Before organizing on the Mall for music and speakers, demonstrators stood outside Trump’s International Hotel, real estate that was developed by the president, a president who has continually failed to address racial injustice- most recently, not outrightly condemning white supremacy in Charlottesville, and criticizing those who protest Confederate monuments.
The crowd chanted, “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Donald Trump has got to go!”
Although starting off as two separate marches, the black women in front brought everyone together in unity and protest.
Hezel Haehnel, George Washington University freshman, said, “I came out here because I am a young black woman and I feel like I am not represented properly within this society so I came here to support myself and other black women like me, and also for racial justice for everyone else.”
She said, “I feel like it will show people … that there are many people of many diverse background coming together supporting the same cause and maybe, just maybe someone will listen to us finally.”
Teresa Younger, CEO and President of Ms. Foundation for Women, stood up on the podium, facing the Capitol building and spoke to the crowd.
“As a nation we are standing at a crossroads and I don’t have to tell you all this because we know it — but in one direction we have a future that is regaled with scandal, peppered with disinformation and misinformation and steeped in indifference — is that the way we want to go?”
“In the other direction is a really rough road — it is going to be a hard one for us to handle, but it is the road of hope and redemption — it is the road of a future that actually respects us all.”
Younger said change begins with uncomfortable conversation and not just communicating with people we know but also asking questions and calling out injustice.
She asked the crowd, how do we begin revolutionary process?
Featured Photo Credit: Protestors stand at the front lines of the March for Black Women and March for Racial Justice, which converged in DC on Sunday, September 30, 2017. (Casey Tomchek/ The Writer’s Bloc)
Allie Melton is a senior journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.