Sheila (in tyvek haz mat suit/pussy hat) with Jean Miller, Mimi Turchinetz
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This is #9 in my ongoing series*, "Signs of Sisterhood" about the Women's Marches that took place on January 21, 2017, on the heels of President Trump's inauguration. I'm keeping this coverage of this historic event going in order to keep the energy and momentum alive during these challenging times.
My guest today is former college professor and long-time activist, organizer and writer Sheila Parks.
Joan Brunwasser: Welcome to OpEdNews, Sheila. I understand that you participated in the Boston Women's March. It was only a month ago but it feels like a lot longer. Tell us about it, please. Why did you take part?
Sheila Parks: Hi, Joan, it's so nice to be here with you. I could not have not gone. For so many different reasons. First, of course, I took part because i am an ardent socialist feminist. I have been calling out and working against world-wide misogyny since the seventies. And now that Trump has given permission for all the misogyny that was always there, including in the left and progressive movements, to be public - the misogyny is apparent to many who never saw it before. That is good. Out in the open. And so I wanted to be part of that march, to be there with my body.
I have been out in the streets marching for many decades. My first big march was at the 1963 "I have a dream" march with Martin Luther King. It was such a wonderful and peaceful day. The radio was filled with commentators saying do not go, it will be very violent. It was more peaceful than when I was standing in line back in NYC waiting for a bus. I fell in love then with big marches. Although it is hard to tell how big any march is going to be beforehand.
And then in the seventies, when I was very active and part of the Catholic Left, one of my biggest lessons came from Liz McAlister and Phil Berrigan - take the struggle to the streets. And that remains true for me to this day.
I was at the 1982 march in NYC against nuclear weapons. That one was so large, we never marched. We literally sat in the streets and rejoiced. I got arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience the next day. My first time.