Women’s March London: Interview with Beth Garner

Yesterday we marched. Yesterday we marched not with hate, not with hysteria and not with contempt, but with hope, with unity and with love.

It’s all too easy to write these words and sound like an over-sanctimonious soul. Someone blindsided by the fear of what this new presidency means. Someone naive to the realities of how our world works. It’s also far too easy to overthink every word I’m writing. To feel saturated with the fear of judgement, negativity or of parody by those confused as to the true message of yesterday’s global Women’s Marches.

However, if there’s anything yesterday taught me, it’s that fear should not be silenced. Fear should be the spark that lights the flame of change. Fear should be shared and fear should be walked over in unity, trampled by the feet that move forward, united, toward a shared hope for tomorrow.

 Yesterday, before we marched, we were lucky enough to speak with Beth Garner, one of the Women’s March’s organisers.

 “In the last year, we’ve seen so much divisiveness and hostility everywhere. So I look back and everything’s so up in the air. People don’t really understand where we’re going or what’s going to happen in the future, and I think that Trump’s rhetoric that he’s promoted and used in his campaigning has really contributed to that divisiveness. Which makes me terrified.”

 Like us, Beth is a feminist, a feminist who understands that feminism means equality.

 “A feminist is anyone who stands up to fight for equality, for equal rights. I don’t think you necessarily have to just fight for women’s rights. I think a feminist can fight for rights for anyone. A feminist can be a man, a feminist comes in any form really. Someone that wants to stand up for the rights of people who are being marginalised and looked down upon.”

 While it’s easy to feel disheartened in this current climate of fear, where anti-female rhetoric is seemingly being rewarded, Garner had a message to share with young women.

 “Stay positive. This march today is not an anti-Trump protest. We’re not just saying, ‘oh these horrible things are happening to us’. We’re coming together with a positive tone and a positive message that we are fighting for our rights, not fighting against what people have said or done.”

 So what can we do to make a change?

 “We need to get off our sofas, and out, and off social media, and actually try to work towards making change as supposed to just talking about it. I think it’s important that we do something and always with that air of positivity.”

 Before the march had even begun, Beth had already achieved what she’d set out to do.

 “Today I think that we’ve already achieved what I really wanted, which is to bring everyone together in a kind of a unified force. There are so many different groups today that normally I don’t think would necessarily work together, that are working together. Different political parties are coming together and I just think it’s that unity and that coalition, a moving forward which is what I really wanted to achieve. I think we’ve already done that before the march has even begun. So, from here, I think we can only go up and can only do more. So, I’m excited.”

 So there you have it, the true message of the Women’s March on London. Not ‘anti-Trump’, not ‘anti-men’ not ‘women first’, but unity, coalition and moving forward with positivity as a unified force working together.

 As we marched among thousands of men, women, children, dogs and placards yesterday, there was no fear in the air, there was only hope. As they day went on, it became clear this hope transcended the city. Hope went global. From America, to the United Kingdom, to France, to Antarctica, the voice was loud and the voice was proud.

 So if you have something to say, just say it. Something to write? Just write it. Something to march for? Just march. Yesterday proved that fear will not silence us.

Watch our video from the day below:

Katherine Chambers

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1 Comment

  1. Lynette Culverhouse
    January 23, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    I marched in Boston, Massachusetts, and how immensely proud I was to be part of a global community gathering in solidarity to create a more just and compassionate world. Women and their allies all over the world are waking up and beginning a journey to bring about a vision of a world united, a world of peace, a caring world, a just world, a world where no one person is valued more than another, a world where we can appreciate each other’s beauty rather than rough edges and a world where everyone has access to housing, sustenance, healthcare and education. On Saturday I talked with strangers and found an instant sense of connection and purpose. We have begun a mission and nothing can stop us until our vision becomes a reality. As Katherine says fear can be our motivation, the prodding inside our souls to take the next step forward. If we all do that think of what we can achieve. Thank you Katherine for allowing your fear to lead you rather than intimidate you.

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