Women's March on Washington: Lessons Learned

Posted on Jan 22, 2017
Guest Contributor


Women’s March on Washington - Political Apathy No More

And today we marched. We marched on Washington, and we marched all across the globe. We marched like never before. Yesterday the newly minted leader of the free world seemed to usher in a New World Order of fear and anxiety among already marginalized communities. Today we marched because the women of this nation, and women across the globe are here to say we are ushering in an era of resistance, a politically woke era that will not allow the new administration to trample on our rights. I was part of the Iraqi anti-war movement after 9/11 and the momentum felt today was like nothing I have ever experienced. Today we made history. Today we move forward as a movement.

Political Apathy No More

Today I met several women (and men) who came from across the country to take a stand. One woman from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania told me this was her first protest. She said that up until now she felt safe in her state, but not so much anymore. Not Muslim, but definitely a minority - a mom who no longer feels safe in her own country. We bonded over the fact that we no longer take road trips alone with our children because we feel unsafe. But being in that space today allowed us to reclaim our ownership over our country, over our own lives. We will not live in fear.

We Belong and Are Not Afraid

There were several women who wanted to extend a welcome because we were hijabi. I felt the warmth. I also felt conflicted, because I was being thanked for attending a march for my own personal rights. Although I know the intention behind the welcoming remarks were well-placed, this reinforced the notion that we, as Muslim-Americans, have to continuously put ourselves in these spaces of resistance. In these spaces of solidarity, in these spaces of power. We need to be visible in these spaces to give ourselves a voice.

“Freedom and Justice for Palestine”

My dear, dear Queen Angela Davis.  On Capital Hill, a black woman demanding freedom for Palestine, while all of the world’s eyes are on her. “Women’s rights are human rights all over the planet and that is why we say freedom and justice for Palestine.” I could not believe my ears, I felt a chill throughout my body. What a significant stand to take - one injustice across the globe, wherever it may be, means that the global consciousness will not be able to lay to rest. I dare say we are frazzled globally because we ignore the open injustices.


A photo posted by Shepard Fairey (@obeygiant) on

Unapologetically Muslim. Unapologetically American. Unapologetically Palestinian.

Linda Sarsour brought this message to the podium, and I ask, is this what is meant by intersectional feminism? We are not linear beings, we are complex, and within that complexity is beauty. Our identity is not categorized by one label, and the new administration has to open its scope of perspective to this theory of identity. I am unapologetically Muslim.  I am unapologetically American. I am unapologetically fierce.

(above left, our Head Designer Gizelle representing in Washington)

Fleeting Moment or Long Standing Movement?

This seems to be the question of the hour. I will do my part as I go back to my community by empowering and emboldening myself, first and foremost - and those who are in my direct sphere of influence. I move to better educate myself. I will show up to my classroom on a daily basis and empower my students, yes - your knowledge is your power. I will ingrain in my children that they are part of this American fabric. And we will not stay silent. When and if the need arises, I will be there - amplified by the voices of hundreds of thousands of women who will not stand for injustice or oppression.

Ahlam Yassin is an educator, grad student, 24/7 on-call mom and writer. Visit her blog: www.ahlamyassin.com