Editor’s note: This post was written by Leo Nguyen, CHN’s new intern.
As the 45th President of the United States was inaugurated last Friday, Washington D.C. witnessed a transition of power from President Obama to President Trump. Across our nation, many people celebrated and many felt defeated. The inauguration was followed by the Women’s March in D.C., New York, L.A., St. Louis, and in cities around the globe. The march was able to unite more than 3 million Americans of different colors, backgrounds, religions and political identifications. This march was not like any other marches. In a situation where our nation is more divided than ever, the march’s organizers succeeded in conveying the message that the march was a chance for people of all walks of life to express their beliefs; a message that the “Make America Great Again” campaign failed to get across to many. Personally, I was very happy to be a part of the march in D.C., and honestly, it was one of the most powerful and inspiring moments that I have experienced.
This march offered a confrontation, a resistance, a challenge, and a struggle against the governing body, something that is vital to democracies around the world.
Following the march is the first official week of the Trump presidency. It also means that some of the hard-fought works and progress of the Obama Administration are on the brink of being wiped out within months, days even. The 115th Congress already hit the ground running with a plan to repeal the ACA without a comparable replacement. The Democrats came up with the catchphrase #MakeAmericaSickAgain; however, that may not be just a catchphrase in the near future, it may become a reality. If someone gets sick and they don’t have insurance coverage nor the ability to pay hospital bills, they will get worse without suitable and affordable treatment (it is not rocket science).
Away from the ACA, reports are that some federally-funded programs including the National Endowment for the Art (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) may be slated for elimination. Many of the our nation’s most noticeable works in the humanities were and are commissioned by the NEH. In addition, the NEA continues to be the source of funding for many programs, including arts education, dance, design, folk and traditional arts, literature, media arts, museums, music, opera, theater, and visual arts in local, state and federal levels. While not a staple issue for CHN, the art and humanities inspire humans to love, to dream, to imagine and to create. The power of imagination can be easily captivated in a quote by Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” While STEM fuels the world, art cures the world. Therefore, these programs should not be wiped away.
So, how do we harness the energy, passion and resistance of the Women’s March and channel it into continued activism? How do we use the power of these millions of Americans to beat back ACA repeal, the elimination of federal programs we care about, and so many other issues that will come up in the following weeks, months and years? These are questions many are trying to answer. The march organizers have put together “10 Actions for the first 100 Days,” with a new group action posted every 10 days. At CHN, we encourage you sign up for our emails so you’ll know when you can make your voice hear before an upcoming vote or other point of action – and then we encourage you to take those actions! We’ll also keep you informed with our blog posts, Human Needs Reports, Facebook posts and tweets. If you attended a march and have thoughts on how to keep the action going, please share them in the comments section below.
As the march organizers put it, “Our march forward does not end here.” We all need to be in this fight, and we look forward to marching together with you to do what’s right.