Sydney in Solidarity with Washington

This morning under sunny skies in Sydney, Australia, I joined thousands of women, men and children in solidarity with our sisters in the US to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump. Concerned about what the Trump Presidency will mean for the protection of women’s rights, and those of non-whites and LGBTIQ communities in the US, in Australia and across the globe, the large crowd joined in a rally against ‘anti-hatred, anti-bigotry and anti-misogyny’ then marched through the city centre. We called for respect for human rights everywhere, women’s freedom, protection for refugees and asylum seekers and the need for greater accountability in politics.  As we gathered, we recognised the importance of the right to assembly and peaceful protest and the urgent need to protect these rights in the context of current worldwide political events.  Wishing success to the protests everywhere today. The resistance has begun!

pastedimage

pastedimage-1

Not-marchers on the march

nobloodforoilSo, I don’t march.

I stayed home when millions protested the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Stayed home for “No Blood for Oil” too (though I did have the T-shirt, at left). Avoided the streets of my Paris sabbatical home on May Day 2002, when half a million marched to the chants of “Là-Bas Le Pen.”

Pretty much avoided all public demonstrations since childhood, never having really seen the point of taking to the streets instead of concrete action – that is, instead of litigating/teaching/reasoning/writing/policymaking toward lasting solutions.

So why march today?

► Because the promise of the election of Barack Obama – hands down, the best President of my lifetime – so soon was dashed by never-believed yet oft-repeated undercuttings of his citizenship. The spurious claims and the events that ensued sunk the hope that had lifted many of us in 2007 and 2008. Fell particularly hard on those of us who are immigrants, or who count immigrants among our loved ones.

aliceroom3Because in the last years we’ve been forced to swallow bile: cruel falsehoods about the 1st woman to be nominated by a major U.S. political party; harsh slaps against everyone who has endured sexual assault; soulless insults about every disadvantaged group imaginable.

► Because Looking-Glass intrigue belongs to the fantasy world of Lewis Carroll, not to the real world in which we all must live.

Because aspirations to human dignity, equality, liberty, and justice, without borders, will not withstand anti-“globalist” attack unless those of us who hold these values dear come to their defense.

Because if we fail to object, we fail our children.

To quote other ‘Grrls:

“It seems like a day when numbers matter.”

“I couldn’t not go.”

And so even we not-marchers march, in D.C., in Philadelphia, and, at last count, in nearly 700 other places around the world.

march

Day One of the Apocalypse, . . . er, Resistance

lizadonovan-hearourvoice-1

Official posters for the Women’s March on Washington, available for download here.

We awoke this morning deluged with news of the inauguration, impossible to avoid and perhaps even harder to comprehend.  For many of us, a feeling of nausea mounting since November has given way this morning to full-blown morning sickness, but without any bundle of joy at the end of it.  As I grapple to deal with the impending apocalypse, I try to remind myself of my dear friend and IntLawGrrl Beth Van Schaack’s framing — that this is day one of the resistance, not the apocalypse.

Here at IntLawGrrls we will begin this resistance by bringing you thoughts and images from women protesting the inauguration of he-who-shall-not-be-named, both today and tomorrow at the Women’s March on DC and around the country, and hopefully around the world.  In contrast to the joyful posts surrounding the 2008 US Presidential election, this is a dark dawn, but one that we will not take sitting down.

I am reminded this morning of an NY Times op-ed, from December, by Australian doctor Lisa Pryor, Dear America, Why Did You Let Us Down?  Pryor laments the loss of America’s “poetry of democracy that was grand and uplifting.”  I want to say to her and others around the world who mourn that loss that this beautiful, diverse, and democratic America is still here.  Indeed, most Americans voted for Hillary Clinton.  And from the inside, America has never looked like a shining picture of democracy, but rather a place of ongoing contestation and struggle to promote ideals of equality and justice.  Those of us who believe dearly in those ideals are still here, and we will fight, day in and day out, to protect that beautiful dream.new-sanctuary

In Philadelphia alone, I know of three inauguration events today focused on immigration: a panel discussion at Temple University on sanctuary campuses; an open house at Puentes de Salud, an organization providing health care for immigrants, at which lawyers from Friends of Farmworkers will be available to answer questions relating to immigration status; and a protest at the Liberty Bell, the birthplace of our democracy, organized by the New Sanctuary Movement and other immigrant community groups.  This is just a small snapshot of the beginning of the resistance.

What does that mean for our international sisters?  We ask you to raise your voices with ours, and stand in solidarity with us.  It’s a bleak forecast in terms of state-based victoriagarcia-respeta-1-1international law for the next four years.  Many of us in the United States are turning to municipalities and local governments to uphold fundamental rights, and we will seek transnational connections at the substate level.  You can leverage international law on our behalf, making arguments based on law, policy, and deeper morality about the actions and stances of the new administration.  I still remember how heartening it was to see the number of Iraq war protests around the world as we marched in New York City in 2003. Most importantly of all, don’t give up hope for the future of America.  We haven’t, and we are counting on your support to get us through the next four years to a brighter dawn.

Trump Inauguration Events Jan 19, 2017

President Elect Donald Trump’s only tweet in the last seven hours (as of about 3pm EST, Jan 19th), is the relatively inoffensive, “Getting ready to leave for Washington, D.C. The journey begins and I will be working and fighting very hard to make it a great journey for..the American people. I have no doubt that we will, together, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

This restraint is remarkable, given what the citizenry has grown to expect. The legal issues raised by Donald Trump and his incoming administration are almost too many to enumerate, so we can be glad at least for this slight pause in his output.

Let’s take stock briefly.

Continue reading

Call for posts: Help IntLawGrrls cover this week’s global array of counter/inauguration events

posterEven as we mark the achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the many women and men who have kept the movement for human rights and human security on the march, today we at IntLawGrrls look toward events later this week:

► Friday’s transfer of power from President Barack Obama to his elected successor; and, not least,

► Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington, organized around “Unity Principles” that will be familiar to our readers. Accompanying that Capitol counterinaugural event  will be a myriad of Sister Marches – at this writing, it’s estimated that more than 700,000 persons will march at more than 380 sites around the globe. The worldwide map is stunning; in the words of organizers:

“Women’s March Global is a proactive international movement, not a U.S. election-specific protest per se, which has galvanized people to defend women’s rights and those of others in response to the rising rhetoric of far-right populism around the world.”

Eight years ago, we ‘Grrls commemorated Obama’s inauguration with celebratory posts from around the world (here and here), as we had the 2008 election itself (see here). This week we hope to repeat that coverage – this time in a spirit of determination rather than celebration. A number of us plan to march and post, and we welcome all of you to join us in this effort.

If you already have an IntLawGrrls account at this ilg2 site, simply post, ideally with photos, according to our usual process. If you haven’t an account but would like to get ready to post, or if you have one but will need assistance getting your text and photos online while you’re marching, please e-mail our editors at intlawgrrls@gmail.com.

Onward.