This Saturday, January 21st, a day after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, thousands of women will flood the streets of Washington D.C. for the the Women’s March on Washington. Organizers expect it to be one of the largest demonstrations in American history representing progressive issues and illustrating dissent towards President-Elect Trump.
“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” the march’s mission statement reads. “We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
Many Sikh women have felt the call to attend and cite their Sikhi as a motivating factor. Several Kaurs shared their thoughts about the march with Kaur Life:
I walk in the Woman’s March this Saturday to stand up and be counted, as my faith requires me to. The foundational cornerstones of the Sikh faith are civil liberties, equality, and justice for all. As a Sikh American woman, I feel that these very basic rights are being undermined as we speak and will continue to be threatened the next four years – unless we stand up and raise our voice against it. It is essential to lodge a protest in numbers. While it might not change the outcome, to not do so means that I am agreeable to what is happening…There is, I feel, no better time than now – to send a message, “We see you, we are watching you, and if it’s not acceptable, we will push back.”
I am a Bernie supporter but I felt nauseous to see how Donald Trump openly objectified and insulted women and still ended up being elected as the U.S. President. I am attending this march as a mark of solidarity with all those women, who do not want to be treated as piece of meat for patriarchal gratification. Being a Sikh, it’s all the more important for me to be fearless enough to raise a voice against this.
Guru Nanak Sahib said: ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਮੰਦਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਤੁ ਜੰਮਹਿ ਰਾਜਾਨ | “So kyon manda aakhiye jit jamme rajan,” Ang 473.
Which means, “How can the one, who gives birth to royals be considered of lesser stature?” Also Sikhism is perhaps the only religion, which believes in complete gender equality and where the Supreme Being is considered to be formless and genderless.
Neha Singh Gohil
As a Sikh, I’ve been raised to believe it’s my duty to stand up to bullies. Our community takes responsibility for defending those whose voices are stripped – whether we are in Mughal India or Trump’s America. I’m marching to ensure that the voices of women and minorities stay loud and get heard.
For me, it is not about the candidates, or protesting President-elect Trump, but about minority’s rights and, of course, women’s rights. We are hundreds of years ahead of when Guru Nanak Sahib denounced the practice of “sati” in India, and first introduced the revolutionary concept that women are equal to men.. But, there is still progress to be made. In this country, women still aren’t paid as much as men are for doing the same jobs, and are not treated as equals. Rape culture is as prevalent as ever, including in our own community. Minorities face so much discrimination, as we know all too well. We have participated in interfaith events for the past 20 years, but it is time to branch out and reach out to non-faith groups and show our support and camaraderie. That is why it is so important that we have Sikh representation at this march.
One of the main tenets of Sikhi is equality and our Gurus fought for our rights and fought so not a single person would be discriminated against based on caste, creed, race, religion, or gender. We must uphold these values and continue to fight the injustices of this world.
The reason I’m going is because I’m still outraged by the outcome of this election and while protesting and marching will obviously not change that, it does send a message to the incoming administration that we will be watching very closely and if they infringe on anyone’s rights, they will have to answer to this united front. That being said, however, (and I can understand how the march might seem anti-Trump), I feel it is more about reiterating the importance of equality and human rights. The march includes everyone, not just minorities, and is a place to establish relationships and remember that it is not just about one minority’s rights, but about human rights (and “women’s rights are human rights”). So many groups will be there and is a chance for the groups to meet and support each other now and in the future. I’m a huge proponent of interfaith alliances and this march will include more than just religious groups. On the march’s website, they state their mission as, “In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore.”
Though, not all women feel like the march is the best way to express their disapproval of the incoming administration and the current populist rhetoric of the US.
I’m unsure of the point of the march since there isn’t something actionable we would be marching for. Perhaps if it were more focused, like opposing a specific bill or action directed towards women, I’d attend.
Organized protest against Trump is what makes me nervous because in other countries those protests tend to be a hop-skip away from becoming violent.
I don’t disagree that this is an exercise of free speech. Of course people have the right to march. I’m considering the strategic value of marching and what we may be sacrificing (peaceful transition of power values) in favor of an unfocused protest….It won’t convince anybody to stop liking Trump. It won’t take him out of office, either. I’m also extremely frustrated about Trump being president, but I’d rather wait until there is something tangible to protest. I’d rather not contribute to something that will just fuel the idea that the left has no idea what it’s doing and what it wants. I’ll totally be there for protests against stupid bills he wants to back. Protesting a person being in power isn’t the same thing and offers no real solution.
What do you think? Do you plan to attend? Do you not plan to attend? Why? Why not? How does your Sikhi influence your decision?
If you are interested in attending a march, there are more than 300 simultaneous local marches that will occur in cities across the U.S., and support marches are planned in 30 other countries. You can search for them here.
We would love to show Sikh women representation at the march on Kaur Life’s Instagram. Tag us @KaurLife in photos of you and friends at the march and we’ll try to share them!
Feature Photo from Getty Images.
Photo of Sehejneet Kaur by Harsh Atit.
Catherine01/20/2017 at 3:56 pm
I am so proud to be marching with my friend, Achint Kaur! I will stand with you!