So, What's Next?: After the Women's March

It’s the question we’re all asking.

I spent this past Saturday marching in D.C. with what I think could easily have been one million other people, including several other Tide Risers.  For the first time since November 9, I felt a swelling sense of cautious optimism.  Having grown up on Capitol Hill, I've seen and participated in a lot of protests, but I've never seen anything like this.  Downtown D.C. was a sea of pink hats and creative signs, all reinvigorating a relentless drive to uphold the American values of tolerance, democracy, and equality.

Defund the NEA?  We’ll fight back with song.  Erode progressive education equity policies?  We’ll teach our kids to stand up for their rights.  Bash Muslim Americans?  We’ll have their backs.  We’ve got the spirit, the talent, the community, and what’s more we’ve got the mighty American promise that we can work to form a more perfect union to secure the blessings of liberty.   

Then we got on the train to go home, and the inevitable 'what's next?' question arose.  We've been hearing this question a lot recently.

The 2017 Tide Risers cohort is quite a diverse group of women — in terms of age, experience, race, industry, and mission.  Just a few of the causes we support include alleviating hunger, education equity, black lives matter, the refugee crisis, care for the elderly, animal rights, the school to prison pipeline, uniting Israelis and Palestinians, and arts and culture.  

The one thing that is common to all of us is the question of ‘what’s next’?   

We’re unsure whether we’re doing enough, working smart enough, putting our resources where they do the most good, whether our communications are impactful enough, whether our plans for the future are sound, whether we need to make significant changes or stay the course.   

I certainly don’t have answers to these questions; none of us do.  What we can do, however, is use the framework we have developed for the Tide Risers experience to work together through the process of searching for clarity.  

Tide Risers will give us:

1. A routine, intentional space to come together to examine ourselves, our work, our pathways, and the way forward.    

2. An outside perspective — sometimes from someone walking the same path, but sometimes from someone who wears an entirely different hat.

3. A community of trust and support that will give us access to resources outside our grasp, inspiration to reach further, and accountability to make us stay true to ourselves. 

All across our nation, people are working collaboratively to achieve the promise of America -- the promise of a tolerant, free society where we feel safe and secure as we raise our families.  Yesterday we were knitting caps.  Today we’re forming coalitions.  I'm thrilled to be building this Tide Risers coalition with such a strong group of women searching for what's next.