Saturday marked one of the biggest political marches of U.S. history.
Hundreds of thousands came together with clever signs and energized tenacity to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. If one couldn’t make it D.C., there were about 673 “sister” marches across the globe.
It was a powerful gesture, seeing about a million people uniting worldwide to fight against marginalization.
But what happens now? Do these speak-volumes marches drift into symbolism, or are they a stepping stone for more civic participation?
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We hope for the latter.
The beauty of the marches is that there is a united front for change, but nothing will happen unless that march turns into action.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see marches like these on election days with routes that lead straight to the polling place? We would love to see that.
Take that fervor and exhibit it at every election.
Vote for people who marched alongside you. Vote for people who you think understand and listen to your frustrations. And get other people to go cast ballots with you.
Learn what is happening in Congress, city council meetings and committee hearings. Build change from the ground up. Start with school board and city council elections. Incite the change you want to see.
Don’t let these marches become empty gestures.
Many millennials participated in the marches, but they show low turnout in most elections. Other generations don’t fare much better. Most ballots in Fort Worth’s most recent local elections were cast by citizens 65 or older.
A recent study by Portland State University researchers spotlighted the lack of voters in mayoral elections.
In the 2011 Fort Worth mayoral election, only 6.5 percent of the voting-age population cast a ballot. Fort Worth’s results were among the worst of 50 cities examined in the study.
This is where change needs to start. We want to see that number rise. We want to see more younger people getting involved in shaping the future.
A great place to start would be the May 6 municipal elections.