“Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
— Maya Angelou, Still I Rise
In the aftermath of the election, when we were so close to making herstory and triumphing over bigotry and misogyny, I found my head bowed, my eyes lowered, my shoulders falling along with my tears. My colleagues and I gathered together in a room and shared our grief and fears – and found some comfort knowing we would rise and fight against the hateful attacks that are sure to come.
We are not alone. And together with the women’s community, still, like air, we’ll rise. The words of the amazing Maya Angelou and other voices from women’s rights supporters are showing us the path forward:
“We take with deadly seriousness the promise of President-elect Donald Trump to reshape the Supreme Court to overturn key protections for women like Roe v. Wade. We take with deadly seriousness his commitment to withdraw all Executive Orders issued by President Obama, like stronger equal pay protections and a higher minimum wage for millions of women and men working for federal contractors. And we take with deadly seriousness his vow to enact tax changes that will create huge windfalls for the richest among us and deepen inequality in America. We have fought these kinds of dangerous threats before—and won. We will again.” — Marcia Greenberger, Co-President, National Women’s Law Center
“In some ways, yesterday’s election results confirm what we already know about the world. We live in a country built from racism, sexism, xenophobia, classism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia. While we were hoping for a repudiation of hate and bigotry yesterday, we didn’t get it. But we also didn’t learn anything new about the world that we didn’t already know. There are some in our country who hate us and want to subjugate, deport, punish, and oppress us. The backlash we are seeing at this moment is a response to the progress we are actually making. Let us not forget that we are building power and making some progress. Backlash is to be anticipated.” — Miriam Yeung, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
“Social movements have never been about one election or one candidate. It’s about us. It’s about the deep connection and commitment we build together while fighting for a better future — a future that finally acknowledges that Black Lives Matter, that Indigenous folks deserve the right to water and sacred sites more than companies deserve the “right” to drill for oil, and ends the deportations that rip immigrant families apart.” — Oanh-Nhi, Diane, Taz, Cayden, and Mark, 18 Million Rising
“Each one of us deserves the opportunity to shape our future, to live safe and healthy lives, and to be free to determine if, when, and how we form our families, without shame, stigma or punishment. NLIRH is committed to ensuring that health care is accessible and available to all, including contraception and abortion care. We will never stop in our fierce defense of our human rights as we work to advance a vision of our nation in which health, dignity and justice are prioritized for women, people of color, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, immigrant communities and working people of every race, region and ethnicity.” — Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Executive Director, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
“We are fortified by the knowledge that for the first time in history tens of millions of Americans could—and did—vote for a woman presidential candidate from a major political party, that girls and boys could see a powerful woman have a real chance of becoming President, and that because of this breakthrough, we will see a woman occupy the highest office in the land one day. In the meantime, we will join in battle with these many millions to prevail.” — Nancy Duff Campbell, Co-President, National Women’s Law Center
“It’s true: Our work will be more difficult. But it has never been more important. On countless issues, President-elect Trump has vowed to repeal the progress we’ve made. We cannot let that happen. We are going to keep being the bulwark for progressive ideals, and we are going to keep laying the groundwork for the progressive future that our children deserve. That means we will push back against those who try to strip health care from millions of Americans; we will stand up for the millions of unauthorized immigrants who contribute their talents to this country but are still forced to live in the shadows; we will call out those who deny or ignore the imminent threat of climate change; we will fight for the economic security of working families; and we will stand up to anyone who attacks or discriminates against Americans based on their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, class, or creed.” — Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress
“Women of color turned out. We made our voices heard at the polls. Now we face troubling days ahead, but we will do what we always do – we will speak up, organize, tell our stories and push for change. We have led our communities in the fight for health and rights throughout the course of history. We have worked to build strong families in the face of ignorance, hate, and structural oppression. We will continue to do so. We will resist.” — Monica Simpson, Executive Director, SisterSong
“Over the last eight years, since Barack Obama was elected, the right has developed new ways to repackage racism and authoritarianism. The Tea Party set the tone for what we are now seeing in Trump. At first this agenda seemed so ludicrous we perhaps did not see its viability for white people scared of globalisation. We must ensure our children can live in a country that values all human life. Black Lives Matter is about the sanctity of human life when scared and fearful people forget that life is sacred.” — Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter
“Regardless of President-Elect Trump’s actions, the Ms. Foundation remains committed to supporting those on the ground in the fight for progress. We must do more to address these obstacles that target millions based gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status. Now, more than ever, it is vital for all Americans to stand together in the fight for equality and justice.” — Teresa C. Younger, CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women
“We will fight back against efforts to undo the policy accomplishments that have enabled important progress in reducing poverty—such as President-elect Trump’s vows to repeal Executive Orders and regulations that help low-income workers and his pledge to tear down the Affordable Care Act. Positive change will require that our nation comes together to seek progress, unity, and inclusion by truly hearing the voices of all. It will also require that we protect basic civil rights and ensure the marginalized are not pushed further to the edges. As President Obama said in his post-Election Day remarks, we must move forward in good faith.” — Center for Law and Social Policy