Dear Mr. Anker,
When my husband and I relocated to Zionsville three and one-half years ago I was under the impression that Zionsville was an enlightened, educated, family oriented community. After reading your commentary, “They made noise and left,” I m not convinced that this is true.
If I am interpreting your article correctly, you appear to be trivializing the recent Women’s Marches held throughout the country on January 21. I participated in one of these rallies. My impression of these rallies could not be more different than your account.
Are you not a student of history? I am an almost seventy year old grandmother who has witnessed the world change for the better throughout these years. When I attended school, no sports or activities (other than a sewing club) were offered for girls, only boys. Women were not allowed to own their own checking or savings accounts or credit cards. Graduate schools in most profession did not enroll women. Secretarial work, nursing and teaching were the only professions open to us as well as other low skill jobs that contributed to the advancement of men. The disabled were warehoused in institutions and the learning disabled were mocked by their teachers for being “dumb.” For people of color, segregation was legal and opportunities to advance themselves were virtually nonexistent. Deliberate discrimination was the law of the land. When girls attended school, it was considered acceptable for males to shout obscenities and catcalls and fondling private parts was just “boys being boys.” I can still remember the embarrassment and shame girls suffered. Abortions took place in back alleys where many girls became seriously injured, some dying. Homosexuality was a punishable crime as was inter-racial marriage. People who identified as LGBTQ had to literally live in hiding. The list goes on and on. All of these awful circumstances have, thankfully, changed due to women and men rallying and taking a stand for what is right. This was not always easy and not always popular. Some even sacrificed their lives for these causes.
Yes, I attended a rally along with hundreds and thousands of other women AND men while I was in Florida. I was on vacation and could have been lounging on the beach but decided it was more important to attend the rally in South Florida. NO ONE (without exception) attended this march because it was fun. It was serious and emotional. No one acted like a toddler trying to get their own way. Everyone held very deep convictions. Women should enjoy the same rights as men. In spite of what our current president thinks, women are more than objects to be fondled by rich white men. The disabled should be respected and not mocked. The LGBTQ community should be accepted as equals with all the rights of any citizen. We are a country of immigrants and our doors should be open, especially to the oppressed, and citizenship should be granted to all those who qualify. Veterans are not “losers” if they are captured. All veterans are heroes. Minorities and people of color contribute greatly to this country and should never be discriminated against. Women should have the right to abortions if their circumstances necessitate this. Yes, there were a myriad of reasons why women and men marched. But for many, our Judeo-Christian-Muslim-Buddhist values necessitated that we speak out publicly in order to help retain the jeopardized rights Americans have worked so hard to achieve.
As for participant action after the march, I cannot speak for the hundreds of thousands who attended the rallies, but are you not aware of the many action groups that have formed throughout the Indianapolis area? You may wish to visit the Boone County Democrats website for a peak into all the many action groups working to make our community a better place to live. The attendance at meetings has exploded from a couple dozen to a couple hundred. Women 4 Change Indiana is a grass roots organization of thousands of women who are doing just that–working not only for the rights of women, but for the rights of all throughout the Indianapolis community. Many of us volunteer at food pantries, immigrant relocation centers, schools, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, hospitals, Community Centers , collecting feminine hygiene items and bras for Support the Girls, etc. Groups have organized to attend town hall meetings with our elected officials. Information concerning upcoming legislation is shared so that we can contact our elected governmental representatives to offer input. Much is being done to continue voicing our concerns and follow-up marches are being planned. These actions are occurring not only in Indiana but throughout the country.
Although I did not notice any stylish cashmere Burberry scarves at the march, I do not understand why that would be an issue. Are you insinuating that women wealthy enough to own an expensive scarf cannot be serious about the rights of the less fortunate? I can assure you this is not true. These are the very people who have the resources to support many community agencies not only with their time but with their much-needed finances. I guarantee you that no one “appeared” to be serious. Everyone WAS serious, concerned and focused on retaining the many rights of women and the oppressed that are now in jeopardy due to the shortsightedness, and shocking lack of compassion of our present administration.
I invite you to the Women4Change meeting to be held on February 7 at 6:00 PM at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on West 86th Street in Indianapolis to observe for yourself the “seriousness” of this movement. I will be attending this meeting and look forward to meeting you and perhaps discussing our opposing views in further detail.
Cynthia A. Levin