Black Lives Matter

Women's Bodies Are Citizens' Bodies


It was six degrees outside, but about 1000 bundled-up citizens, women and men, many in pink pussy hats, turned out for the third Women’s March on Jan. 19, 2019 in Montpelier, Vermont. The signs they carried showed no evidence that women are resigned to being quiet about a Presidential pussy-grabber. The opposite!

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The group pictured above, draped in American flags (oops, one slipped!) are part of a campaign called #GrabThemByTheBallot, anticipating 2020. They could hardly be ignored!

Other speakers included MacKenzie Murdoch, a youth activist and host for the event, who shared a poem she wrote about her rape on a Vermont campus and its investigation. She reported one of every three women experiences sexual violence of some kind, the reason for #MeToo.

Women’s bodies were also the centerpiece of Vermont’s Nutty Steph’s efforts. The chocolatier brought a basket of specially made chocolate vulvas, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, and they stood by a huge fabric vulva, inviting attendees to step through and be reborn as they entered the public space.

Former Bennington Representative Kiah Morris, who in the face of racial threats resigned her position to much national attention, urged attendants to do the real work of “peaceful revolution,” avoiding “narrow identity thinking.”

A theme that threaded through all the speakers’ exhortations, cheered by women and men, was the broad inclusion in government policies of all of us born of women, and living on our Mother Earth—especially in the face of dramatic changes, including racial, gendered and environmental ones.

Divisions had emerged nationally this month, with one organizer citing Louis Farrakhan as a GOAT (Greatest of All Time), and some important organizations, including Planned Parenthood, stepping back from national sponsorship as a result. But the Vermont organizers set up their own Vermont website to declare their principles of nonviolent resistance and inclusion.

The spirit of the event was capped by Patty Casey’s song, whose chorus, sung by all the crowd, really should become a movement hymn:

“We are better than that, we are kinder than that; we are going forward and we’re not going back.”  Yes, even when it’s freezing cold and a huge snow storm is on the way!

One image opposite is an amazing quilt made of tiny pieces of fabric! (quilt photo and #GrabThemByThe Ballot photo by Meg Kuhner)

Outside, Soft Fluffy Snowflakes...

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...are falling, not in a hurry, but steadily, as if they can be counted upon to not give up, to keep on. Typically such snow makes me cozy, and inspires me to sing holly-jolly songs of the season, the cornier the better, my croaky voice the perfect foil. But today I am weepy, in touch with a fear of looming tragedy, theirs and ours.

Across the country unusual warmth is promised, while in California it bursts into flames that won’t quit. An airport loses power, holiday planes are downed by heavy fog, Houston and its neighbors are still swamp and poorer—and in Puerto Rico my fellow Americans face the season without water and electricity. In a Washington run by Wall Street and its unhinged wealthiest, Americans face yet more debt in pursuit of more growth in hopes of a trickle. Just a trickle is all we ask, and instead we get a Christmas Goose egg from a Congress of Scrooges and Stooges, who keep on selling us out.

They kick us out of the halls of power when we protest in our wheelchairs, saying Don’t Kill Us, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo and Gay is Good. God Bless Us Everyone, says Tiny Tim, the least of us—but in this year’s Christmas tale, he gets backhanded, not picked up and fed.

We can look forward to our “entitlement programs,” the insurance we’ve long paid for with our taxes, being cut or eliminated, like the environment—now deemed too expensive, given the corporate giveaway. Trump and Putin are making chummy phone calls to replace state-craft, making billionaires better off worldwide by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and Syria in exchange for more fossil fuel money.

All is wrong with the world, it seems, although snowflakes are still falling in Vermont. Bit by bit, they float down and pile up and remind me, united we stand, divided we fall, to everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn.