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Women’s March reflection at Essence

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Six months after the nation-wide March, a panel of political public figures gathers to discuss the progress of women rights and how to impose change every day.

“Women’ s March on Washington was not a day, but a lifestyle,” cheered panellist Brittany Packnett at the women empowerment event sponsored by Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana last Sunday.

Packnett was joined by Georgia’s youngest city council member, Mary-Pat Hector, president and CEO of National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Melanie Campbell, president of the General Electric Foundation, Deborah Elam, and CNN political commentators, Angela Rye and Symone Sanders. Janaye Ingram, former executive director of National Action Network, moderated the panel with questions that forced the panelists to address issues women of all races are facing.

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The panel confronted the gap in gender pay and how the US Census Bureau estimated it would take an extra 44 days of work for women to earn the same amount of men in 2016. Along with the statistics and voting results for the 2016 presidential election. Although 53 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump, these women could not turn their backs on the remaining 47 percent that sought to march in solidarity.

On January 21, 2017, between 440,000 and 500,000 people gathered for the first planned protest in Washington, D.C. Men and women all races–white, black, Asian, native, latino, etc.– joined forces to march for not only women’s rights, but also LGBTQIA rights, worker’s wights, civil rights, disability rights and social justice. There were 408 marches reported that day, making Women’s March a world-wide movement with over 5 million participants.

Six months later, the organizers of the march remain on the front lines of societal issues encouraging citizens to continue to walk with a lit torch even when no one is looking. When the panelist were asked how to create change beyond today, they emphasized the importance of making your message heard. and advised the audience to get more people involved, particularly the individuals who aren’t necessarily affected by the issues minorities and women face. “As a people, we have exercised enough discipline. I am no longer asking for your help to take a stance, I am now demanding it,” CNN political commentator, Angela Rye, said in closing.

To be informed of upcoming events with Women’s March or to donate, please visit womensmarch.com.

 

Jhone White-Lucas

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