Many of my friends participated in the Women’s March in DC this weekend. I am so proud of them, so stinking proud of their passion and willingness to voice their concerns. I hear you ladies loud and clear. Readers of my blog know that I’m pro empowerment; however, I am even more pro ACTION.
Dear Ones, talk without action means that nothing changes. So, post-march, here is my opinion. The Women’s march did little to benefit the average woman. While the women who marched certainly feel empowered, but did they help someone today? Will they help a woman tomorrow, and the next day, and the next? Will they volunteer to babysit while a young mother takes night classes? Will they run to the grocery store and the pharmacy for an elderly woman? Will they load a WalMart Gift card with a hundred dollars and hand it to the woman with three screaming kids standing in line behind them, or will they judge the woman?
If we are truly “with HER & Her & Her & Her,” then Dear Ones we’ve got work to do.
Was the Women’s March about changing the lives of average women, or was the march about pitching a hissy fit in the shadow of the White House?
Typically, a flight from Atlanta to DC costs around $ 269.00. Add the price of a hotel room, food and other expenses and even a cheap trip to DC cost, I would estimate, around $ 700.00.
Now imagine if everyone who attended the rally this weekend gave that amount to a woman in need.
By way of example, let’s look at the lives my readers have changed.
Since November, readers of this blog have poured their volunteer time, and precious money, into the residents of Gatlinburg Tennessee who were displaced by the fire. These readers gave to women who lost their jobs, families who lost their homes, women who now live in camper trailers, and others who are so desperately poor they showed up at The Distribution Center claiming to be displaced just so they could get a free can of Baked Beans. Want to help a woman? Look no further than Gatlinburg TN.
My readers change women’s lives.
Another example: Author Echo Garrett has invested years of her life pouring love and money into foster children who at age eighteen are – literally – released from foster care onto the streets with nowhere to stay. She raises money. She mentors youth. She changes lives.
Laurie Paisley collects pocket change during the Christmas Season as part of Operation Christmas Jar. There are now Christmas Jars in all 50 states. Laurie Paisley helps women.
Famed Cracker Queen, Lauretta Hannon, purposes to form relationships with waitresses at The Waffle House. Want to meet her for coffee to discuss your manuscript? She’ll meet you at The Waffle House. The staff of Starbucks has health insurance, but most likely your Waffle House waitress doesn’t. If you don’t like JFG Coffee you should probably order tea. If Lipton Tea doesn’t satisfy, bring your own teabag. Lauretta is meeting you at the Waffle House because Maureen and dozens like her needs the money. Tip well. Make a difference, Lauretta Hannon does.
And while I’m on this soapbox that will fill my inbox with hate mail, if you frequent a restaurant and don’t know the name of your waitress, now might be the time to do a little soul searching.
Last week I treated my daughter to lunch. We asked Kira, our friend who happens to also be our waitress, how her semester was going. She took last semester off because she’s caught in this credit-hour-academia-hell. Three more labs and she’s finished, but she doesn’t have the money to pay for 12 credit hours on her own.
“I refuse to take out a loan for my classes,” Miss Kira says and in that moment everyone in our admired and wanted to suppoert her. She’s one smart gal. By golly she knew the odds were stacked against her if she graduated with a mountain of debt. “I’ll just work all the hours I can and save my money.”
That Kira’s smart. She’s 12 hours away from being a Forensic Biologist. But it’s hard to live and save enough money for 12 credit hours (a little over $7,000). So there she was, sliding a salad across the table. My daughter, Jamie, who has worked her fanny off to meet her sales goal at Jewel Scent, opened her purse and poured every dime she had onto the table.
My daughter took her commission for a month and helped a woman.
Eleven Marchers. If eleven women had donated $ 700 to Kira she could finish her degree. Want to feel empowered, help a young woman, help a middle aged woman, help an elderly woman. Did you march and now you’re ticked because you don’t like what I have to say? Make a difference. Send some money to Kira. Want her address? I’ll get it for you. Send money to the people of #Gatlinburg, I have a list of addresses. Purpose to find someone to help. Another round of tornadoes just hit the south, that’s a great place to start, because a whole lot of women have been marching- boots on the ground- for years. We say, HELP!
By comparison, a friend of mine in Tennessee was fed up, mad as hail and demanded her voice be heard. She booked a flight from Knoxville to DC. She marched. She lost her voice. She feels better. My daughter felt lower than a whale’s belly because she couldn’t afford to go. My daughter wanted to help women, but then I explained that she does help women. Jamie financially has helped more women that this friend who gave Delta Airlines, Starbucks, Public Transportation, and the Hilton a whole bunch of money. Did all of that money trickle directly into the hands of women? Umm, no. But Corporate America sure made a chunk-a-change.
Who wants to join the difference makers?
All of these women, and so many more, who make a difference without marching should feel peacock proud. They should be just strutting just as much because they make a difference all the time! I am not trying to belittle those who marched, but I am challenging every one who marched to invest- dollar per dollar- the same amount they spent while in DC into their local community.
You see, what the marchers felt on January 21, 2017, well . . . doers, helpers, givers and difference makers feel that same elation every time we help another human being. When you support women in your community you invoke change. When you help small business women such as those I’ve mentioned, you indirectly help other women. Today I ask, are you willing to financially help another woman? Are you willing to be there for her physically if you haven’t the funds?
Real change for women begins when we first meet their basic need, when we ACT, when we ask, how can I help? and then do everything in our power to rally around a woman in need. Until then, the Women’s March is nothing but a bunch of noise.
Renea Winchester is a traditionally-published author of three books. She is a Jesus lover, a gardener, and a giver of hugs. She may be reached at P.O. Box 404, Webster NC 28788