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Why You Should Take Your Kids to the Women's March

December 27, 2017

Why You Should Take Your Kids to the Women's March

On January 21, 2017, a day after watching the inauguration of a president who had bragged about committing sexual assault, women and their allies took to the streets. In Washington DC, cities across America, and even abroad, a sea of pink hat-wearing protesters filled city centers in peaceful assemblies of people of all kinds, demanding rights not just for themselves, but for all.

"After the shock and pain of the election in November, to march in solidarity, amongst multiple generations of activists, feeling first hand the power of our collective cries, witnessing more love, hope and fellowship than I can even describe, was like salve on a deep wound," our friend Sarah remembered. "It gave me hope and made me feel like we would survive what was certain to be a very dark time in our political history."



Sarah, who traveled from Seattle to DC for a day of  love and hope.

 

It was the largest single-day protest in US history. The best count, according to The Washington Post, was between 3.3 and 5.2 million people total. And not a single violent incident occurred. Way to show 'em how it's done, ladies and allies.

Said Jennifer, who traveled to march in Washington, D.C.,  “I couldn't stop crying, seeing hundreds of thousands of people peaceably assembled… the most I'd ever seen all together. I was in awe, and my faith in humanity was restored that day.  We could and we did matter, if only for a day.” 

Big events, like Trump’s election, tell us we don’t matter. Everyday incidents, like being mansplained to or mansplained over, tell us we don’t matter. Being groped or slapped or touched or falling into that #MeToo category: they tell us we don’t matter. The recent Hollywood sex scandals, our beloved icons -- Matt Lauer; Al Franken; Danny Materson; Charlie Rose; white-bread, downhome America, all-that-is-good-in-flyover-country Garrison Keillor: these men all say that we don’t matter.

We need to teach our kids that women do matter, and that we can use our united power to stand up for the rights of others. This lesson in solidarity is a vital one. It’s one our kids need to learn, need to breathe in, need to see and move through. In a world of toxic values, they need to see positive female solidarity.

As Shauna said, “I marched in DC, and I felt the wave of justice, equality, inclusivity, and power that builds when a million women and their allies rise together.”

Your kids, boys and girls alike, deserve to feel that too.

And that’s why you should bring your kid to the Women’s March 2019 on January 19th. You can head to DC, or you can find an updated list of local marches on the Women's March Site (link)

A lot of people are scared to bring their kids to protests, and we get it. Protests can be scary. There are big crowds where it’s easy to lose small people. It’s loud. They don’t sometimes get what’s going on, and may run around or whine, “When can we go home?” We’ve been there, trust me. We have so been there. But the civic engagement is important, because even if they start out like that, they end up like this:

Toriah and her daughter wearing matching America the Wonderful shirts. 

So how do you and your kids get the most out of this experience? There are several easy things you can do to make sure you’re both involving and protecting them while they learn about peace, justice, and the American way.

Give them a sign of their own making. Talk to them about the goals of the march/rally (some places, like Charleston, SC, are having rallies for reasons of accessibility). Then help them make a kid-sized sign they can hold, and affix it to a stick if it’s allowed (check local ordinances). You may have to help with the lettering. Encourage them to illustrate it.
    Bring all the things you’ll need: more water than you think you’ll possibly drink, snacks, etc. They will drink it all and eat it all. Baby too young for solids? Learn to nurse or bottlefeed in a baby carrier. As Melissa says, “I marched in Atlanta with my husband and our 14 month old daughter. She nursed the ENTIRE walk, which felt important - physically and spiritually connected to female energy in a place that served as a cultural catalyst for the civil rights movement.”
      Melissa and her daughter nursing in the carrier. Photo by Christophe Laurenceau.

       

      Know your potential bathrooms. All of them. Trust us. You might make use of every single one, so get to know your route ahead of time.

        Write your phone number on your kid’s hand in Sharpie, so it doesn’t come off,-- and keep your phone on both ring and vibrate so you can feel it if you can’t hear it over the crowds. If they get lost, someone will know who to call. While you're at it, write your name and phone number on your own arm too.
          Even better, teach your kid to memorize your phone number in a song (pick anything, from Three Blind Mice to the first few bars of Space Oddity, which works shockingly well). Make sure they know what to say if they’re lost. The script should go “Hi, I lost my mom/dad/grownup. Can you please call them and tell them where I am?”
            Kids too young to do that should be held firmly in hand at all times, confined in stroller or carrier. Ever dreamt of owning a backpack with a leash on it? This may be the time.
              Be ready to bow out early, missing things like keynote speakers, ends of marches, meeting dignitaries, etc. because someone is melting down. It happens. They’re kids, and you gotta roll with the punches. Sometimes the punches mean trekking home before it's all over, and there’s no shame in that. You gotta take care of business, mama/daddy/parental unit.

                Think the marches don’t have an effect on kids? They have a profound effect. There are kids out there determined to overturn the patriarchy over education and a Women’s March. After last year's march Alex, age 5, said to his mother, "Take your hands off my mama! That's what I will say to President Trump if he touches your bagina without asking permission."

                Alex, 5, with his mother Gail, whose "bagina" President Trump shall not touch without permission.

                 

                We’re raising strong women -- brave women unafraid to take their rightful place in the world -- and we're also raising their allies. That’s why these marches are so desperately important. And there are moments of magic, like this one Ebba remembers from marching in Seattle:

                "Our massive, slow moving crowd, sandwiched between sky scraping buildings, grew eerily quiet. Heads were turning to look at something up to the right. At an open window in the middle of a sea of closed windows sat an old, black man. He was weeping and fighting through tears to shout the words 'Thank You!' down to the crowd below. His grateful tears spread like wild fire as the crowd fought through equally grateful tears to shout back, 'You’re Welcome!' The Womxn’s March wasn’t just about fighting for the rights of women; it was about fighting for the rights of all."

                So take your kids. Do it, despite your fears. Go. They need it more than you know. And more than needing it, they deserve it. They are citizens, after all. They deserve the chance to engage civically to the best of their ability.

                And parents, so do you -- despite your small people in tow.

                - - -

                Hey, whatcha wearin' to that march?

                Here at Free to Be Kids, we design and create positive fashion for baby, kids, and grownups. And we are proud to offer some perfect statement shirts for the march, all available in baby through grownup sizes. Here are a few of our favorites.

                 When Hate is Loud, Love Cannot Be Silent

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                America the Wonderful

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                Boys Will Be Good Humans

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                Nevertheless, She Persisted

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                Little Feminist, Big Dreams

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                When They Go Low, We Go High

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                Feminist Like Beyonce

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                Feminist Like Daddy

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                Feminist (gold ink)


                Tote Bags (20+ designs):



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