November 7, 2017 is election day in New York State. In addition to offices such as mayor and city council, there will be three referendums on the ballot. Back to Work Collective has decided to publicly endorsing all three referendums, as follows:
by Amanda Ghosh
I know the Women’s March happened a while ago, roughly 19 executive orders ago, but daily resistance trumped the blog writing, which ultimately gave me one pun as well as new thoughts to work with.
Cheery. Antsy. Pink: The Women’s March in DC. It was warm, fuzzy and there were hundreds of pussy hats. It was empowering to swarm together in crowds of feminists. It was fun to meet up (eventually…) with so many of the BTWC team. It was precious to share the weekend with my friend Lucia, a lifelong soul sister who joined us from San Francisco. In my own personal experience, it was puissant to perform our Feminist Flashmob. (I chose the word “puissant” because it’s kinda like “pussy”) Our pop up performance piece and outstanding Lady Liberty puppet felt like an offering to the Women’s March. Together, Lady Liberty and the Feminist Flashmob we performed felt like a true “yes and” - the performer’s motto! YES we will engage; we will march. AND we will add to the experience with something memorable, share historical perspective and stories that might not otherwise be heard if it weren’t for art.
Overall, when I looked outside and around my personal experience, I noticed that although powerful and a big deal, the Women’s March was white.
By Yonit Friedman
Since the first, nausea-inducing moments after Trump’s election, I’ve been struggling with the advice many experienced and trustworthy activists have given me. Don’t try and fix everything, they suggested. It’s impossible, and it’s a guaranteed way to burn out. They’ve advised me to pick a single cause, focus my energies on that, and trust that others will do the same for other causes. While I see the wisdom in this approach, it feels damn near impossible in practice. The entire world is burning, both literally and metaphorically. How am I supposed to focus on just putting out one fire?
by Ariella Axelbank
In the days leading up to Trump’s inauguration, I started seeing reports (from minor but generally trustworthy news sources) about Trump’s plans to gut/eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts. As a theater artist with a strong academic interest in government funding for the arts in this country and others, it seemed like a good thing to investigate, especially since very few of the major news networks seemed to be reporting on it, at least initially. Here’s what I found:
by Julia Levine
This article was originally published on Artists & Climate Change, a blog by and about artists who engage with the climate crisis, on January 25, 2017.
“We are unstoppable, another world is possible.” One of my favorite rally cries from the Women’s March on Washington is carrying me through the first week of this bonkers administration. This phrase, and the experience of being surrounded by thousands of people showing up for similar goals, signified to me the possibility for a sustainable future. The creativity on display, through signs, costumes, and performance, contributed to the impact of the weekend. These displays offered intersectional perspectives – the Women’s March was in no way solely about women, but about the equitable and just world that we want to live in, despite what the people in power have in mind.
Walking out of the D.C. Metro on Friday, January 20 was like entering a ghost town. No cars, very few people, eerie silence. There was the familiarity of red, white, and blue, of a Starbucks on every corner. Familiar, but not comforting. These symbols of nationalism and consumerism are not going to save us. Cue tear gas bombs going off, and riot police storming the intersection. Thus the tone of my Inauguration Day experience was set.
by Danny Bradley
The city of Liverpool has a proud history of organising and enacting peaceful protests and demonstrations for countless causes for social justice. Last Saturday was far from an exception.
The grounds of St George's Hall seemed to be overflowing with people who turned up to march in solidarity with the women of America. The speakers were inspired, the chants rang loud, and the signs were utterly brilliant. (See attached photos - apologies for the Merseyside slang. Americans reading this; you haven't got a chance!)
Perhaps it was due to the transatlantic time difference, allowing us on this side of the pond to watch the inauguration straight after work, but the presidential ceremony left me feeling even more bewildered and crestfallen than I thought it would.
However, attending the Liverpool rally was quick to relight the flame.
The organiser had only put the event up a week or so prior, and yet everyone came out in hordes. Clearly, the sense of gloom was shared by a lot of people - but they decided to come together and make a concerted effort to transpose the greyness into active calls for change.
Those who approached the microphone spoke of the individual causes that they supported and how best we could get involved. I found that this helped break down the overarching sense of dread into smaller, bite-size chunks of activism; ways to actually participate in resisting the encroachment of intolerance.
I was proud to be at the Liverpool march. And I will keep being proud of the small, and sometimes enormous, ways in which we can all continue to show support for those who'll need it the most over the next four years.
Danny Bradley is UK based actor, musician, and long-distance collaborator with BTWC
by Paul Bedard
“The artist’s job is to make memories,” a teacher (Rubén Polendo) once told a class I was in during college. At the protest to Donald Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington, I couldn’t believe this more strongly. I believe artists have a unique ability to harness the unusual, to provoke imagination, and to create experiences that haunt and linger long after the event has ended. I believe artists, in the words of Taylor Mac, must remind people of what's been forgotten or ignored and crystallize the unforgettable and unignorable as it unfolds. We must make and preserve memories.
by Emily Rose Prats
I am unabashedly excited for the Million Women March. And that's a privilege.
Some I know are afraid--to be targeted by police, harassed by Trump supporters.
Some I know are struggling, the exertion a difficult prospect for those with physical and emotional disabilities.
Some I know are risking a lot, losing pay and maybe even their jobs.
Some I know are alone, seen as traitors and troublemakers by families who don't understand.
But marching is easy for me.
My family--my mom, my sister, my boyfriend--will be marching right beside me.
I'm white, middle-class, and wholesome-looking. It's unlikely I'll face discrimination tomorrow.
I can march all day long on my two feet, full of energy, eating protein bars and PBJ.
I don't have to miss work. I was able to afford train tickets. I'm lucky to have a friend so gracious as to open her home to my whole family, saving us all the cost of accommodations.
I treasure this feeling of camaraderie, of solidarity. I'm grateful for this opportunity. I'm so happy to see how much good has already come of the Trump villainy.
But I recognize how lucky I am to be in this position, and I salute those for whom tomorrow--and the next four years--will be far more difficult.
For feminism to be the intersectional place we want it to be, we have to celebrate our own joyful perspective and be conscious that others can't share that joy. We must be sensitive to these disparities. And we have to see them for what they are: evidence that there's always more work to be done.
Emily Rose Prats is a dog-lover, Pride and Prejudice obsessee, and marketer raised in Kentucky and living in Brooklyn. She's trying to live well, fight consumerism, and be a good role model.
Women's March on Washington
Spotify playlist by Kelly Webb
Kelly Webb is an actor, director and writer living in Brooklyn.
by Alice Pencavel
I am drawn to those experiences that accentuate my smallness and my greatness simultaneously — to feel my choices and actions have consequence, while also acknowledging how so very small I am in the great scheme of things. This sensation — which to me imbues a deepened sense of purpose — was the prevailing spirit of the NYC Climate March of 2014.
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