Why I’m Joining Australian Women Marching Against Donald Trump

"We will not stand by as hatred, bigotry and misogyny are normalised."

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Today I will be peacefully protesting along with people of all genders, races, sexualities and religious beliefs at the Women’s March on Sydney.

Despite being in completely different time zones, we will march concurrently with our sisters stationed all over the globe voicing our support of women, immigrants, minorities and the marginalised. We march to reject the egregiously bigoted and xenophobic rhetoric that is sadly present in the current socio-political climate around the world.

The Women’s March on Sydney is part of a grassroots movement, and will be one of the first of hundreds of solidarity marches happening in over 60 countries around the world. Contrary to popular belief, our march is non-partisan: we do not wish to vilify the Trump administration.

The aim is to create a positive and empowering reaction that spurs people of all backgrounds to be proactive in becoming the catalysts for change in our country and the world. The march is to show Australia and the world that we see what is happening and we will not stand by as hatred, bigotry and misogyny are normalised.

Why Are Australian Women Marching?

One question I have been asked repeatedly as I’ve been involved in organising the march is: what does this march have to do with Australia? We aren’t in America, so it doesn’t affect us.

This question baffles me because the parallels between Australia and America are blatantly obvious.

Just this week, I read about Pauline Hanson pushing for the burqa ban. For many years, even I believed that the micro-aggressions and racist attitudes I faced as a black woman born and raised in Australia were normal. Racism is deeply ingrained in our society. There are Indigenous Australians dealing with high levels of incarceration. We have refugees escaping persecution in their own countries who are thrown in detention centres and treated like criminals on Nauru and Manus Island. The similarities are clear.

Those are only a few examples as to why it is important as an Australian to let your voice be heard. Although we all come from different backgrounds, and are compelled by completely different reasons to become a part of this movement, at the end of the day it does affect us all.

For those who believe that protesting won’t change anything, it’s important to remember that had people not protested, the women’s rights movement would never have occurred. The civil rights movement would never have happened. The idea that women’s reproductive rights may be taken away absolutely terrifies me. If people hadn’t raised their voices, we wouldn’t have come so far.

Yes, one rally won’t change everything, but this is only the beginning. Today we will march for women’s rights, the disabled community, marginalised groups, the LGBTQI community, and people of all races and religions. All in all, we will march for human rights, and I hope you will join us.

The Sydney Women’s March will begin at 11am at Hyde Park. The Melbourne Women’s March will begin at 1pm outside the State Library.

Feature image via Women’s March on Sydney/Facebook

Ayabatonye is an Australian-born writer with Nigerian heritage, who just returned from working for two years as a music journal, fashion blogger and PR consultant in Berlin.