Women's March LA - Jujubee Kennedy - The Living Emoji

So You Marched — Now Plant the Trees of Fucking Change

There’s a fine line between a walk in a general direction with a ton of people, and a march.

Women's March LA - Jujubee Kennedy - The Living Emoji

Which is why at first, I wasn’t necessarily super gung-ho about the idea of a Women’s March the day after Inauguration Day. Don’t get me wrong — I’ll take any reason to get loud about things I’m passionate about, especially when it’s alongside kick-ass and powerful women.

But the Women’s March’s intention didn’t seem clear to me at first. What was the purpose? Sure, I hate our newest President just as much as the rest of the estimated 2 million plus women (and men) who marched around the world on January 21, 2017.

But there’s only so many Facebook fights I can drop into (and, admittedly, start) and so many minutes (read: hours) that I can spend talking shit about him, before I’m exhausted and left mentally and physically broken down.

Women's March LA - Jujubee Kennedy - The Living Emoji

And I’m a straight, white female, so I don’t really have too much to fight against in the first place when it comes to my own safety and security, if I’m just talking about myself.

What was this march about, really? Was it destined to be a live reincarnation of all the angry Facebook comments and tweets — most of them mine — but worse because you heard the echoes all around you and couldn’t escape them within a radius of 5 miles in DTLA? Not to mention, in every other city that was hosting a march?

What if the march was destined to fail because it ended up alienating so many other issues that deserved just as much attention and action, such as race equality and immigration laws and LGBTQ safety, just because it was a women-centered march?

Or worse: what if it ended up just being a whole bunch of angry white ladies?

Women's March LA - Jujubee Kennedy - The Living Emoji

Nothing against angry white ladies, we get shit done. But where is the value in an exclusive message?

This march needed to be more. It needed to mean more, to stand for more, to be for more. It needed to spark more.

At the March, I found the “more” — and not just starting with the fact that the Women’s March of LA estimated only 60,000 participants, but over 750,000 actually attended.

Women's March LA - Jujubee Kennedy - The Living Emoji

The March’s intentions were just as diverse as the crowd that attended. People of all sizes, colors, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and celebrity-crush-preferences showed up and had something to say.

The March may have meant something different to everyone who showed up, but one thing was very clear: they were here to take action, create conversation, encourage diversity and ultimately, support those who feel targeted and even unsafe in this new Presidential term.

I was afraid this march would be boiled down to simply an Anti-Trump March, and while many there voiced these sentiments (and I agreed), it was less of this kind of march and more a, Let’s-get-the-fuck-together-and-start-making-shit-better March.

It wasn’t necessarily about getting the government’s attention, but about getting the US people’s attention and re-directing it towards issues that actually matter.

Women's March LA - Jujubee Kennedy - The Living Emoji

Photo by Martha Kirby

So now, let’s make shit better.

Afraid for our future? Get involved with your community. Volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of America. Donate to your local Planned Parenthood. Mentor an at-risk youth through snowboarding, or the outdoors, or even just give them a new pair of sneakers (feeling fresh can make a huge difference). Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Live in LA? Here are even more suggestions.

Worried about the planet? Give back. Plant trees in your neighborhood. Recycle, for Christ’s sake. Don’t use straws. Avoid plastic like the plague. Conserve energy and bundle up with your snuggie instead of turning up the heat. Stop wasting food (guilty). Pick up your garbage. Compost. Get yourself a dope-ass reusable water bottle and carry that shit everywhere.

Want to fight back? Education is power, so go fucking educate yourself. Read up on local laws and understand what’s important to you. You should be able to answer intelligently why you support something, why you agree with something, and maybe most importantly, why you don’t agree with something. Get well-read with the news, but learn media literacy and know how to spot fake news.

Advocate for those whose voices aren’t heard, or that are heard incorrectly/misunderstood. Read the Black Lives Matter manifesto and understand their mission. Be an ally for POC, LGBTQ, and immigrants. Empower disabled youth. Be someone who others feel safe around.

Most of all, don’t be silent. Speak up when you see something you don’t agree with. Spark discussion. Ask questions when you don’t understand, even if you think they sound stupid. Facilitate understanding between opposing parties. Check your privilege. Argue effectively. (!!!)

Be more than the Women’s March. Just because you got outside and walked at the same time a ton of other people walked, doesn’t mean you did shit. If you walked in the March and you feel satisfied, then you missed the message. There’s a fine line between a walk and a march, and it lies in action.

Don’t fall victim to getting involved but lacking purpose. Make good on the promise you made when you marched — to yourself, to your sisters, to each other — whatever that promise is.

Go plant those fucking trees of change.

Women's March LA - Jujubee Kennedy - The Living Emoji

Photo by Martha Kirby

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Julia Jean Kennedy

Julia Jean Kennedy

Preferring basketball over barbies, travel over tutus, and almost any chatter that could somehow relate back to Harry Potter, Julia is always game for a beer and an impromptu booking of a ticket to a game, country, or even the latest Fast and Furious movie. Here, find random thoughts, tidbits about trips, and occasionally Seattle Seahawks propaganda.

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