Women’s instinct

1/27/2017, 10:27 p.m.

A woman’s instinct is usually spot on.

In this case, it was the instinct of a small group of women to convene a march in Washington to protest the inauguration of President Trump.

Bucking the call to give the new president some time in office to see what he will do, the women felt the urgency to come together to show their opposition to the new leader of the free world, who was swept into office despite rhetoric demeaning, demonizing and threatening to women.

He has given a wink and a nod to the world that his past actions denigrating immigrants, disabled people, Muslims, people of color, LGBTQ people and victims of sexual assault and harassment were OK, and that his plans as president that would negatively impact women also are OK.

We applaud the courage and instinct of these women, whose call to action resulted in one of the largest civil actions anyone has seen around the world.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, nearly 1 million women turned out in Washington and another 5 million combined in cities across the United States and for sister protests in more than 50 countries around the globe.

According to all accounts and measures, the evidence shows the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday alone drew more people than President Trump’s inauguration on Friday, Jan. 20.

The marchers’ unified message to the new Trump administration was clear: Women’s rights are human rights, and they will not stand down in defending women and others marginalized by the new government.

It is certain that resistance is needed. 

Less than a week into the new Trump regime, he has signed executive orders to roll back the Affordable Care Act, beginning the process to cut 20 million Americans from health insurance coverage and to defund women’s health programs worldwide, including Planned Parenthood, by ordering that no federal dollars can go to organizations that provide abortion services.

On Wednesday, President Trump signed orders calling for the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, increasing border patrol forces and deporting larger numbers of undocumented immigrants. His orders will seek to end sanctuary cities and the practice of releasing undocumented immigrants detained by federal authorities before trial.

Additional executive orders advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, overturning the halt to both projects that took place under President Obama. We believe the pipelines will have potentially devastating impacts on the environment and on those who live in the watershed of their routes. 

The Dakota Access pipeline, to run 1,172 miles through four states from North Dakota to Southern Illinois, threatens drinking water from Lake Oahe and would destroy sacred ground of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota. The 1,200 mile Keystone XL pipeline, planned to carry more than 800,000 barrels of oil daily from Canada through Montana and five other states to oil refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, is a recipe for disaster because of possible breaches that can contaminate land and crucial water supplies along the way.

This is not the time to remain silent. We know this president is sensitive when it comes to size. So we urge people in Richmond, in the Commonwealth and across the nation to continue to march, rally and turn out to have their voices heard about the impact of his executive orders and policies on health care, reproductive rights, the environment and immigrants and their families.

On Tuesday, rallies were held outside the home offices of many members of Congress, including Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia. Keep the pressure on. Let your elected representative, no matter his or her party affiliation, know how you want the government to respond.

Let your instinct be your guide. Don’t wait until you are acted upon. Continue to speak up. Speak out. Drive the change you want to see.