Tuesday, January 24, 2017

There is Strength in Our Diversity

There is Strength in Our Diversity
words and (most) photos by C.A. Matthews 

We've had a whirlwind week of making history together in our country. In the span of two days, I marched in two "sister marches"--the Unity March and Celebration through downtown Toledo, Ohio, and the Women's March in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It's been an exhausting, yet exhilarating experience. Here are some of my thoughts and photos.
Typically, you can expect generally miserably cold and damp weather conditions not conducive to large turnouts at outdoor events in this part of the world in January. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The "early spring" cannot alone explain the large crowd at the Unity March and Celebration on January 20, 2017. Approximately 1,000 participants lined up at Toledo's International Park gazebo in mid-afternoon on a workday. Children and infants in arms and strollers were bundled up, since the route included crossing the wide expanse of the Maumee River over the Martin Luther King Jr. drawbridge.
The march was organized by the YWCA of Northwest Ohio and welcomed a wide variety of area organizations such as pro-immigrant groups, LGBTQIA teen groups, Ohio Single Payer Access Network (health care issues), clean water groups, environmental groups (including anti-fracking), social justice/church groups and women's groups

Young adults sang songs as we gathered at the pavilion and learned how our route would stretch across the MLK Bridge into the downtown area, symbolizing the unity in our diversity and our pledge of non-violent action. Participants were given the opportunity before the march to create their own heart-shaped signs expressing their love for the community.

Messages were positive and supportive of Toledo's diverse population. As we walked from the park and up and over the massive drawbridge, we were greeted by the happy honks and cheers of passersby who didn't seem put out by a parade of approximately a thousand persons blocking normally busy downtown streets at rush hour on a Friday.

The route ended at Trinity Episcopal Church with a rally featuring speakers, music, snacks and tables of literature and sign up lists for participants and the general public to learn more about area organizations working to build a better city, a more just society and a greener world. 
In a state that went to Trump in the recent election, the enthusiasm and excitement of the Unity March and the positive response of the public to it and the rally afterward cannot be downplayed. Toledoans of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations and socio-economic backgrounds joined in marching, cheering and celebrating the beauty of the diversity of the Glass City.

I have officially "joined the Resistance." (This is from a quote from a great Star Wars-inspired sign I spied with an image of Princess Leia after my good camera broke--agh! Luckily, my cell phone camera worked fine and others like Carol graciously shared their photos.) On January 21, I joined 10,000+ human beings at the Women's March in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan.  

Photo by Carol K. (of yours truly & marchers)

The home of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, hosted a "sister march" which saw both phenomenally warm weather and fantastic attendance.  I couldn't see the start or the ending of the marchers once we arrived. No doubt about it, there was a yuge amount of people squeezed into a relatively small city. (Perhaps there were 20,000+  present? The "start" of the parade ended up almost at its "ending point" we learned later.)

Contrary to what you might think, the march wasn't attended primarily by U.M. students but by ordinary folks from the area. Babies in carriers and toddlers in strollers were everywhere. People of all ages, races, and physical abilities were evident. Pink knitted "pussy caps" peppered the crowd, and the t-shirts, costumes, signage and banners declared a festive, jovial mood while simultaneously making pertinent political points.  

Half the participants were male, not what some would expect at a "women's march." Many fathers, sons, brothers, boyfriends and husbands expressed their solidarity with women on matters of health care/reproductive rights, equal pay, equal access to education, discrimination/anti-immigration concerns and other vital issues.  Their signs expressed their love and support of the women in their life, giving a touching witness to the fact that when one part of society suffers, all of society suffers
If I ever hear how Americans simply don't care about their communities or feel any empathy towards the struggles of their fellow human beings, I will simply look back on the photos of these two marches and know that statement is a lie. We the people are resisting the negativity of a Trump administration with positive and progressive actions  and much compassion for our neighbors in our hearts.
Photo by Carol Kimbrough

The bought-off politicians and corporate-owned media pundits may say  insulting things about the 99%, but they need to get outside of their "bubble" and walk the streets with the rest of us sometimes. The strength of our unity in diversity cannot be denied.

Enjoy photos from women's marches all over the world:


Please read the following directions and take Hugh's advice...

Open Them Now!
by Hugh Campbell

Our political parties left to their exclusionary desires get to set the agendas which all American voters must live with during the general election process. Is there little wonder that the United States has such low voter turnout rates and low trust in Congress? One antidote to the stranglehold the political parties have over Democracy is to open the primaries. Please click the petition Incoming Chairs of the DNC & RNC: Open the Primaries, NOW!

A patchwork of restrictive registration rules prevented 26.3 million independent voters from participating in the Presidential Primaries/Caucuses in 2016. The same restrictive rules prevented millions more registered Democrats and Republicans from voting for the candidate of their choice. Voters from New York to Arizona, whose tax dollars fund the primary process, were denied the right to fully participate. It’s not hard to understand why voter turnout has hit a 20-year low, and 70% of all Americans now support open primaries.

By signing the petition-- Incoming Chairs of the DNC & RNC: Open the Primaries, NOW! you are sending a message to new DNC and RNC Chairs to break with the likes of Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was the poster-chair for closed primaries in every state.

BIO: Hugh Campbell is a seasoned financial professional, currently providing subject matter expertise on a variety of regulatory topics, including the Dodd-Frank Act, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and overall compliance monitoring. Hugh has previously held positions as Chief Risk Officer (CRO), Chief Audit Executive (CAE) and Director of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance.

2017 Peace Essay Contest
The West Suburban (Chicago) Faith-Based Peace Coalition is sponsoring a Peace Essay Contest with a $1,000.00 award to the winner, $300 for the runner-up, and $100 for third place. Essays have to be directed to a person who can help promote knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (KBP)   and, from whom a response is expected. Essays will be judged not only on the quality of the essay but on the impact of the response. Everyone is eligible to participate; there are no restrictions regarding age or country of residence. Participants are required to take the following 3 steps: 

1. To enter the contest send a Peace Essay--
Request email to coordinator Frank Goetz at frankgoetz@comcast.net. Provide your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and, if under 19, Age. Also, provide the Name and Position of the person or persons to whom the Essay will be directed. Your application acceptance as a contest participant will be acknowledged in an email containing your assigned 4-digit Essay Number. [If information is missing or confusing you will be contacted by email or phone.] 

2. In 800 words or less write your essay on: How Can We Obey the Law Against War? As soon as possible but at least by April 15, 2017 send the essay to the person named in your application and a copy to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line. 

3. By May 15, 2017 send Essay Response documentation to frankgoetz@comcast.net with your Essay Number in the Subject line.
Some examples of impact:

  1. The President agrees to explain the limitations placed on the government by KBP.
  2. A member of Congress supports a resolution to make August 27 a Day of Reflection.
  3. The ACT or SAT administration agrees to include questions regarding KBP.
  4. A newspaper includes a KBP story.
  5. A school board revises its curriculum to expand KBP studies.
  6. A religious leader calls for nonviolent actions.
We will announce the winners at a festive event honoring the 89th Anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 2017.
Sign the Declaration of Peace.
Find events all over the world that you can take part in.
Join us on Facebook and Twitter.
Support World Beyond War's work by clicking here.

Fundamental human rights are all we're demanding... Is that really too much to ask?

If you agree, it's time to get out of our caves and take it to the streets. Follow the bold examples of these marchers/activists. It's not difficult--show up and follow the crowd! (Signs are often provided.) We'll be seeing you at the next event.

(And, Mr. Trump, remember this:  "Keep your tiny hands out of my underpants!")


  1. We must unite in the face of oppression! The new government under the fascist Trump must be challenged at every turn. His recent permission to advance the hated DAPL pipeline is just one aspect of the way he doesn't care about ordinary people. Let us find our common cause and ensure this evil man never gets his way. #AnnArbor #SisterMarch #WomenForBernie #MniWiconi #StandWithStandingRock

    1. Yes, we need to keep making "noise" so trumpolini doesn't for one moment think we're giving up or giving in to his sick and twisted vision of America. The people united will never be divided!


Please feel free to share your thoughts with us. Just one rule: Be polite. This means no profanity or cursing. No shaming or hate speech. No threats or silliness. This is a family friendly blog. Thank you.