The most important effect of resistance events like the Women’s, Science and Climate Marches is not their impact on the public, but rather the incredibly energizing effect on the marchers themselves.
The Women’s March on Washington was amazing, not only by its sheer vastness, but because of the tremendous human energy it generated. Through it all, the marchers showed remarkable patience as strangers were pressed shoulder to shoulder, unable to move, not knowing what was going on. Nobody got upset, they just worked together, and many continue to do so.
A striking result of the Women’s March has been the formation of many relatively small, self-organized politically progressive groups which align themselves with similar groups to increase their effectiveness. In Anne Arundel County, there are groups of Women’s March Huddles forming into a Network, and Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Indivisible groups (a national group which began as resistance to the Trump agenda) combining forces.
I saw the continuing impact of the Women’s March in two wonderful meetings I attended just last week. Highly organized, energetic women are building groups of hundreds of women (and some men) online, while working in small and effective task groups to solve very specific problems here in Annapolis with a group called Action Annapolis. They will start with City elections as a training ground for state elections, then nationals, with a clear plan of action for each. Another group from Severna Park called WISE is working on issues like environment, gun control legislation and immigration. They are hosting an upcoming Town Hall with District 33 Representatives on Monday, May 15.
Many of the groups are planning Town Hall meetings, including one with Congressman John Sarbanes in Annapolis on May 25 at Asbury United Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m. Town Halls are thought to be particularly effective at the local level, but some national figures are also finding out how powerful these meetings can be. As the groups develop more expertise in this area, the hope is they will illuminate candidates’ true positions on issues important to progressives in the county.
Streams fed by the springs that grew from the resistance marches are beginning to flow together all over this country into swiftly flowing rivers. Someday soon, the hope is that a mighty river will influence not only the political landscape but the community landscape as well.
So, dive in, attend some town halls, council meetings, and public forums. You will meet some talented, determined, and fun folks flowing in from many separate tributaries, but merging together in the civic action process.
John Wells attended the 1968 March on Washington and continues to be active in city and national politics. John started the group Annapolis Indivisible.
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