January 24, 2017

Further notes from the Women’s March on Washington


Poster by Ashley Kircher and Juliana Sullam. Available here; all net proceeds will be donated to Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood.

Before the Women’s March on Saturday, I went to synagogue with a friend who’d let me crash with her in DC. The rabbi encouraged us to consider our own individual talents, however humble—maybe you can cook dinner for twenty people no problem, maybe you speak another language, maybe you just make friends really easily—and apply them to our resistance efforts. At a moment when it’s easy to feel so small, it was encouraging to hear this insistence that each of us has something to offer.

We’re a publishing house, and on the day after the election, we got to work on What We Do Now; that’s what we have to offer. And this weekend I marched in Washington because what I have to offer is one more body: “a fleshly sign,” a friend wrote, of defiance.

That’s not nothing: putting out a meaningful book; being another body, another voice, another name on a petition. But it’s also not enough.

There were a lot of great signs and cheers this weekend—in my little pocket on Pennsylvania Avenue, women chanted, “My body, my choice,” and men responded, “Her body, her choice,” and it gave me goosebumps—but the poster I’ll carry in my brain during the years to come said, “If you weren’t scared until 2016, that’s privilege.”

I wasn’t scared until 2016, not really—I think that’s probably true for a lot of us. So, it’s my hope that as we come down from the incredible high of this weekend—we go to work, we pay the bills, we make plans for Friday, and the sun keeps coming up—those of us who weren’t scared enough for each other before will push ourselves to think harder about what we can offer, and to offer as much of it as we can.



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.