Gwenno Dafydd (pictured below on the march) was host and promoter of the Cardiff leg of the #womensmarch in response to Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington D.C. on January 2oth. Here she writes about the day and the movement. All photos courtesy of Creative Query Media.
Seven months or so ago I had the most vivid and disturbing nightmare of my entire life: that I was being chased away from the quiet mountain top village where I had lived all of my life by a ferocious earthquake which unleashed a terrifying volcano. This wave of fiery destruction continued to unfold and wreck its havoc on the foundations of all the buildings and places where I had lived and loved and chased me away to a distant place where I sat, lonely and isolated, challenging all of the values and beliefs that I had once held.
This nightmare came to pass in the decisions taken at the ballot-box not only with the Brexit outcome, but also to a far greater degree in America where Trump’s lies, racism, homophobia, misogyny, scapegoating and hatred enabled him to become the most powerful man in the world – a truly terrifying proposition.
I have watched with total disbelief as this car crash of a world future started to reveal itself but noted with some interest the powerlessness which I had also been infected with, slowly being transformed into something more hopeful. The decisions taken by the intrepid and determined women in Washington started to be reflected around this brave new interconnected world – one where the immediacy of social media was able to mobilise and transform in minutes.
A few weeks ago I made a decision to go to the ‘Sisters Solidarity’ March in London which had just been announced. I felt excited and hopeful to be part of a global sisterhood. However, about a week ago I was contacted by two Cardiff based women, (both active in Cardiff People’s Assembly) Claudia Boes and poet Gemma June Howell, asking if I would help organise a ‘Sisters Solidarity’ march in Cardiff and host the event – an honour which I was not going to refuse so I quickly changed my plans and got cracking on drowning my Facebook feeds in details about the event.
And what an event. Cardiff – you did us proud! The numbers vary from 700 to around a thousand – who knows?! All I know was that we all formed a jubilant and defiant multicultural, loving, colourful and brilliant band of sisters (and brothers who came to support us) and we had nearly come back to the Aneurin Bevan Statue as the tail end was still meeting us half way around!
One of my favourite motos is, ‘If you think you are too small to make a difference – then try sleeping with a mosquito’, and I truly believe that we can all change the world for the better in our own way. And as proof to this moto we had some absolutely amazing speakers – some who had rarely spoken in public such as Alice Shing who has been actively campaigning to keep Roath Library open (women use libraries far more than men) to seasoned campaigners such as Marianne Owens, Chair of Abortion Rights Cardiff and long-time Women’s Rights activist and member of the PCS Union NEC.
The German philosopher Nietzche said (S)He who has a ‘why’ to live can bear almost any ‘how’, and one of the parts of the event that I really liked most was the #WhyIMarch section. The women who stood up and spoke are too many to be mentioned individually, but it was a great opportunity to hear about the reasons why they thought it was crucial to be there and to march in Sisterly Solidarity with the estimated millions of women who marched around the globe as a protest to the human encapsulation of hatred that is Trump.
Why was I there? Having been a feminist since I first found out at the age of 21 that this is what I had always been, I continue to fight for women’s rights and equality. I was there because only seventy years ago there were marriage bars in this country which meant that when you got married you gave up your job in some professions. I was there because women died so that I could get the vote and I don’t want to lose it. I was there because I believe in equality, diversity, justice, fair-play, human rights (women are humans as well!) and will campaign for those things to be available to all human beings as long as I shall live.
After yesterday, I now feel that the seeds of hope have finally taken root and that the nightmare has evolved into a dream for a better future which we can all aspire to and work towards. #SockItToThemSisters
Gwenno Dafydd is a freelance Leadership and Public Speaking Coach and Trainer and author of Stand Up & Sock it to Them Sister (Parthian Books) which examines and deconstructs the glass ceiling through the prism of Gwenno’s passion, that of women in comedy, and has been called ‘The ultimate canon of female stand-up’s’ by ‘Funny Women’ – the UK’s leading comedy community. Available here.