One Player's Opinion: Why Being At The Women's March in Washington, D.C. Is Important
One Player's Opinion: Why Being At The Women's March in Washington, D.C. Is Important
Photo of "Nails" done by Anna Sudit for Refinery 29.

One Player's Opinion: Why Being At The Women's March on Washington, D.C. Is Important

One Player's Opinion: Why Being At The Women's March in Washington, D.C. Is Important Photo of "Hope Not Fear" done by Cannell-Louisa (@WeezyVC).

As we reflect on the past year we’ve observed an unprecedented shift in attention on social change and political participation. Attention for crucial issues like racial justice, police brutality, civil rights, LGBTQ rights and women’s rights have all gleamed a newly energized base of support. Over the last decade social activism has been on rise and has seen an even greater resurgence within the last two years. Whether it was the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, Standing Rock, Occupy Wall Street, the Chicano Movement, the LGBTQ Movement or the disability movement — people from all walks of life gathered, organized and protested against injustices. As we settle into 2017, we will continue to see civil disobedience, agitation against oppression and advocation for justice — but we must also be deliberate in demanding results. Every form of social activism can be related to women’s rights and the protection of their families. This week's Women's March on Washington, which started virally, is poised to address a myriad of issues that address the social climate here in America. Shaping up to be a historic event, this march will gather women from all walks of life and enable them to express their thoughts + concerns with what is going on in the nation.

After last year's elections, the climate of energized political participation helped to inform my own personal dedication to affect change. I began my career in the nonprofit world after undergrad and I advocated for more sound criminal justice policies. This exposure stirred my direction into public administration. While pursuing my Masters Degree, I got the opportunity to work for the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus in New York, where I eventually became the youngest executive director in office. Working inside of an actual government facility was a huge eye-opener for me into how policies (and the lack thereof) greatly impacted communities in need. The experience of dealing with those obstacles led me to running for the New York Senate Assembly during the 2016 election cycle. And even though my run was unsuccessful (I came in close second) — I was fueled by my devotion to these causes to press forward, stay active and help to organize the community.

So, after the Nov. 8th election, I was in a state of disarray, coupled with flashbacks of my own campaign and primary election results. The most pressing question I had was, "What can be done?" and "How did we get here?". The following week after the election, I saw Tamika Mallory, who is one of the co-chairs I worked with and is a mentor of mine. She was posting about the Women's March and I immediately reached out to offer her my help. By getting involved with the Women's March, it allowed me to wrestle with one of my questions, "What can be done?". The Women's March is such a powerful platform and a much needed response to last year's insanity that I wanted to ensure that this gathering of like minds sends a bold message to the rest of the country. Yes, marching for one day won't yield immediate change like an impeachment of Donald Trump and his cabinet of cronies, but social change has never been done by one method alone. It is the combination of grassroots efforts, protesting, civil disobedience, mobilizing and resistance with the addition of lobbying, advocacy, politics and legislation.

Tamika was excited that I wanted to help out and wasted no time in bringing me on board. From the moment I offered my help to right this very moment, I and Tamika have been working closely together every day on troubleshooting all aspects of the Women's March. In addition to that, I have also been responsible for College Mobilization — making sure that the young, budding minds of the future are well prepared to handle and be aware of the situations of importance in America. As a millennial myself, I support this next generation, this "Gen Z," and it has been an amazing experience to work so closely and intently with with college students to ensure that they are engaged.

One Player's Opinion: Why Being At The Women's March in Washington, D.C. Is Important Photo designed by Bonbon Oiseau (@bonboniseau).

As a part of the National Organizing Committee, it has been an honor to work so dutifully on the back end to guarantee a safe and well put together march. Despite sleep, this labor of love enriched my life because it served the greater good for fellow women, their families and greater communities. I also walked away with countless experience and gratitude to be in the presence of such women as the aforementioned Tamika Mallory, Linda SarsourAlyssa KleinCassady Fendlay and Carmen Perez. It was a truly inspiring and humbling time of my life. Social activism — at its highest point — has been our strongest tool in the fight for equality and justice. With our current political climate so out of whack and in dire straits, the times call for us to speak truth to power, speak out and speak loudly. The Women's March, which takes place the day after the presidential inauguration, aims to make a strong statement for the beginning months of 2017.

Personally, I understand the importance of cross-sectional representation of all of these demographics: millennials regardless of race and ethnicity, but also more specifically young people of color. "The Women's March mission to stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country," reads a mission statement from the Women's March press release. With that said, by working in the political and government arena, running for office and communicating ideas to my peers — I understand completely the importance of grassroots organizing, voter engagement and increasing one's political power. I also recognize the need to craft both an inside-and-outside strategy to effectuate positive change in our country. Protesting is not enough, marching is not enough, civil disobedience is not enough — but these methods will inspire people and be the catalyst to activating people in their own local neighborhoods. No great movement in American history has been absent of resistance, taking to the streets and riling up the oppressors. By showing up and showing out, we are proving that it is importantly vital to ensure that our needs, issues and voices are heard loud and clear by the majority.

As a proud black woman, coming from a marginalized community, I know that if you do not show up you are doing a disservice to us all because there is too much at stake. I urge you all to attend this Women's March in Washington, D.C. and in New York City on January 21. By doing so, you are making it possible to show a strong and dynamic force that will stand in camaraderie against hate, distrust and racism that is going on in America. Come march with us, share with us your ideas, donate to our efforts and tweet, Facebook and Instagram about the march, so you can spread word to your friends!

Nantasha Williams is a New York-based social architect who is working with the Women's March to mobilize all genders to speak up and show out that equality and justice are needed now more than ever. You can find her on Instagram @NanTastiic.