By Editorial Board | Echo
In January, perhaps as many as 4,000 individuals in Indianapolis made their way from the American Legion Mall to the Indiana Statehouse. In 2017, many marched to protest the inauguration of President Trump, saying his previous comments about women, his disregard for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and clean energy, and his thin promises to LGBTQ community of America did not make for a fitting leader.
However, the theme of 2018's march was much different. While fundamentally about politics, the leaders of the march chose "Power to the Polls" as this year's rallying cry. As they say, "You can't complain unless you vote."
"No matter what your political viewpoint is, you can be in favor of voter registration," said writer and adjunct faculty member Amy Peterson. "(An) important part of meaningful contribution is voting. So, whatever we can do to make sure every American is registered to vote and making their political contribution will lead to a more representative and just government."
In conjunction to that theme, Women's March speakers in Indianapolis stressed the importance of intersectionality - in communities and in leadership.
This may seem far removed from rural Indiana. It is easy to get caught up in assignments and hall meetings and forget there is a whole world out there that is hurting. The first step to understanding intersectionality is for individuals to discover what facets of their identity are most at play.
"Intersectionality means that you are aware that each person's identity has multiple facets," Peterson said. "I'm a woman and I'm white and I'm straight; all of those things intersect to sort of make who I am. And so I think that even if you are a person who is in the majority culture, becoming aware of your own identity is a really positive first step. And then, I think at Taylor we ought to make more of a concerted effort to listen to the voices of people who are different from us."
Senior psychology major Rachel Campbell witnessed such intersectionality firsthand. As a volunteer peacekeeper in this year's Indianapolis March, Campbell was stationed on a street corner with a biracial woman and a Muslim woman wearing a hijab - and they all had the same goal of promoting voter participation.
As professor of history Steve Messer said during a Women in American History lecture when asked about the parallels between today's marches and the marches on the early suffragette movement:
"It's not just radicals out there picketing the White House. It's people from all walks of life out there standing up for what they believe in."
Of course, society has come a long way since the days of Ida B. Wells and Carrie Chapman Catt. These days, intersectionality and inclusivity is at the forefront of nearly every discussion. But an important part of discussion often overlooked is listening.
"Listening builds empathy," Peterson said. "Listening is a way of showing love, and we don't need to afraid of the people that we're listening to, or afraid of something we disagree with or something that doesn't fit the categories we already have in mind for reality and the way the world works, right? So, we should be listening to Black Lives Matter voices and we should be listening to LGBTQ voices because that's a way of showing love and honoring the image of God in every person."
Some people may be wary of joining a cause such as the Women's March. It seeks to tackle red-button issues, and those conversations often make people uncomfortable. At the end of the day, being politically involved and building relationships with "the least of these" will get us closer to the Kingdom. Whatever our faith, gender identity, race or socioeconomic status, voting with each other in mind will create a balanced community founded on empathy - and that's a step in the right direction.
The opinions expressed in Our View columns reflect the views of The Echo Editorial Board, and not necessarily those of Taylor University.