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The Million Women's March

As Told by Anisa Maat

I would like to share with you my experience of attending the march. The march was held on October 25, 1997 in Philadelphia, PA. When I first heard about the march, it was so exciting to know that one million women were planning to get together in Philadelphia, for what was soon to become a great historical event for the sisterhood. You could the feel the energy all over the place. The time for this march was perfect following the Million Man March a couple of years ago. In my opinion, the call for the million men by Minister Louis Farrakhan proved to be a true testament of the brotherhood in spite of the negative press that was to follow the march. It has been a long time coming. We finally have a chance to get together and celebrate OUR blackness after being held down and oppressed for years. What a beautiful site to see. One million plus sisters of all walks of life in the same place for the same purpose of love, peace and unity. As I said before, the march was held in Philadelphia. That meant that I had to "Get on the bus." There were organizations all over town sponsoring bus rides to the march and I was glad to meet up with some sisters over the internet to purchase a couple of seats for Dalaniaamon's daughter Devon and myself.

Once we arrived at the bus site that morning, the women were there waiting and ready to to go. Accompanying us to Philadelphia, were the Guardian Angels which I thought was a good idea. The brothers looking out for the sisters. The weather that day was overcast, cold and rainy so they served us food and drinks, sold umbrellas, hats, sweatshirts, etc. It took about 2 hours to get to Philly. Once we got there, it looked like it must have been at least what looked like a couple of hundred buses lined up with women from all over the globe. By this time, DeVon and I were ready to make our way to the march site. As we left the bus, we were given tokens to catch the subway, which was an experience in itself. Just think about being down inside of a subway system with that many women all moving in the same direction.

The people in Philly who were guiding us through said that they had never seen anything like it. There were never any problems. The women were there for a cause and everyone treated each other with kindness and respect throughout the whole experience. Even with that many people packed inside that subway, you could sense that everyone wanted to make sure that everything was okay. Women hugged one another and fellowshipped with a true love that transcends any negativity that was expected by the press. I know they didn't think that we were capable of being together without some kind of problem. We proved them wrong again. As we got off of the subway and made our way through the crowd, we met up with the parade and that was really nice. We watched the young sisters high step with a look of pride on their faces as they passed by. We marched right along with them all the way to the site of the stage that was set up for the guest speakers.

There were so many stands set up along the way. If you listened to the negative press, you would've thought that those venders were there to cause problems which wasn't true at all. In fact, I thought it was a good idea to have those people who had something legitimate to sell. For instance, we saw the brothers and sisters set up under their tents with good food, hot chocolate, books, sweat shirts, gloves, T-shirts, art work, jewelry, and a whole host of other things to see. Now me personally, I was so happy to be able to buy something hot to eat and gloves to put on my hands because it was very cold and rainy in Philly that day. The fact that they were there to help out with the crowd was nothing but a good thing. But once again, you read in the paper the next day about how bad it was that vendors were selling their products and distracting the attention of the women. Please, the march was not about the venders okay. If you went there to be distracted by venders and not there to learn something or to grow as a person, than you missed the whole point. In fact, that was one of the topics discussed.

We have to stop allowing other people to define who we are and how we do things. We as Black people have always gotten together and fellowshipped with one another. Congregating , eating good food, enjoying good music and talking about whatever has always been a part of a tradition that pre-dates the slave experience. After the parade and some Jamaican jerk chicken and sweet potato pie, we proceeded to make our way down to the front to listen to the outstanding speakers such as Maxine Waters, Jada Pinkett, Sister Soldier, Winnie Mandela, some sisters from the Nation of Islam and a host of other speakers. We stood there listening and I looked out over the crowd and could see nothing but a sea of women clapping, cheering and holding up their fists to the sky chanting and adoring the messages of love that we were receiving. Another guest speaker that was supposed to speak was my dear sister Rosa Parks who was unable to be there with us in the flesh. I know she was there in spirit. Sister Rosa sent a message of hope for a bright and more prosperous future for Black Women.

As black women, we must take our rightful place in this society. For many years we have been overlooked and treated as second class citizens in this world. The black woman is and always will be the very core of who we are as a people in any society. I especially enjoyed the message that Sister Soldier gave, telling the sisters to stop claiming sisterhood if you are out here mistreating another sister in any way. You have one sister trying to take another sister's man, while smiling in that same sister's face. Don't call that your sister because a real sister is not going to do that. Another thing you have is this pettiness of one sister talking about another sister behind her back about how she may be dressed or how much she weighs. The true reality is that we all are beautiful to the creator and I personally think that we are perfect in every way. God doesn't make mistakes. We're perfect just the way we are. We have to show each other love and respect as sisters.

The other point brought out was how we as women have been entrusted with the ability to give life to the male and female. It is in our power to raise and cultivate those children to become great people in this world. I don't think God would put such a awesome responsibility on someone who couldn't get the job done.

There were many messages given but what I walked away feeling and knowing is that we are a power to be reckoned with. The black woman has the power to give birth to her babies, love and take care of her family, hold down a full time job, run a household, love and support her man and everything else she has to do. It is high time that we sisters demand to be treated like the true African queens that we are. In all, the march was to say the least, a true life changing experience that I hope will make us strive even harder to become the people we were meant to be. So my sisters, I applaud you and I love you all. Thank you for all of the work that went into the organizing of the march. Thank you to all of my sisters who came out to support the cause. Special thanks to all of the guest speakers who thought enough of the cause to come out and support us. To those who didn't come out, I really can't understand what could make you not want to be a part of such greatness.

Peace and Love

Anisa Maat

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