This Saturday, millions of people will take to the streets in cities across the country, in concert with the Women's March on Washington. Here in Oakland and San Francisco, more than 140,000 people have RSVP'd on Facebook for local marches, to "stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us," according to organizers.
In response to this unprecedented gathering, KALW and the East Bay Express invited women from all over the Bay Area to send us their "Letters to Trump." The reaction to this project was enthusiastic, as we received several dozen thoughtful, moving, personal essays from women throughout the Bay.
A selection of these letters appear below. KALW will also broadcast radio-essay versions of the letters at 91.7 FM, and at KALW.org, beginning January 17 and continuing through the week. And you also can read more letters at EastBayExpress.com.
Our hope is to celebrate the voices of local women of all backgrounds and beliefs — oh, and we're going to mail these letters to the White House next week, too.
- Photo By George Baker
- Richa Pokhrel of Oakland to Trump: “I want to thank you for awakening something in me that was hidden. ... This warrior is ready to fight.”
'I Have A Voice'
Richa Pokhrel, 30
You think of me a sore loser, because I will never accept your presidency. I will not normalize your antics, nor will I ever wish you success. You belittle me with your degrading words, lies, and threats. You will continue to try to silence me. I am a woman of color who is also an immigrant, the type of person you dismiss the most. I have a weapon; it's something you will never be able to take from me, no matter how much you try. Can you guess what it is?
I have power and I have a voice.
You may think you have all the power now that you are the President-elect, but you are wrong. No matter what you do, you will not scare me into silence or complacency. In fact, all those threats you throw around have only motivated me. Throw all your punches. No matter how much they hurt, I won't go away. I never thought a future president would affect me this deeply, a person I have never met nor will ever meet. I've always been an obedient Nepali girl, one who follows the rules and doesn't want to stir up any trouble.
But the thing is, I want to thank you for awakening something in me that was hidden. I want to thank you for bringing out the warrior that has been dormant for the last thirty years. This warrior is ready to fight for her rights, to defend her community, and to protect our earth. There are many of us, millions and millions. I just want to wish you luck as we organize, as we shout, and as we reclaim our power. You will never be my president.
Listen to Richa Pokhrel's radio essay at KALW.org, or click here.
'Feminismo Sin Fronteras'
G. Billie Quijano, 63
2017 will be the year of La Chingona ... the world will know we give a fuck, that I give a fuck. We will continue to protest, to confront, to make history, to move history. I hold these women in high esteem: La Soldera, who fought alongside Zapata. La Zoot Suiter, who worked in American factories for the war effort. La Trabajadora, who refused to give up her seat on the bus. La Pintura, a Mujerista who painted her own reality, because it was her voice and her voice only. The first African-American Congresswoman who ran for the presidency in 1972. The female war correspondents who gave their lives to bring us the truth. A young Pakistani woman who survived the Taliban's attempted assassination, only to continue the fight for a girl's right to education. A Russian all-women punk band, who were incarcerated because they exposed their country's oppressive government. The ex-senator who, in 2016, won the popular vote for president (we may have lost the presidency, but we didn't our asses kicked).
They are our mothers, daughters, sisters, Mujeres to be revered, not to be assaulted, verbally or physically, not to be objectified. On January 21, millions of Mujeres will be present en masse in major cities nationwide. President Cheeto may be in the White House, but we will have the power to make change, to maintain our rights. I have survived Nixon and Reagan, I survived the Bushes, and I will survive the Orange Scourge.
'We Haven't Forgotten'
Judy Wells, 72
Although you won the presidency, you have done little to gain my respect. Your campaign brought to the fore America's dark side — particularly its entrenched misogyny, and its distrust, even hatred, of women, especially powerful women. You encouraged your supporters at your rallies to scream "Lock her up! Lock her up!" about Hillary Clinton, whose public service to America for over thirty years puts yours to shame.
Mr. Trump, when Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, suffragists in the early 20th century, campaigned for "Votes for Women," they were locked up, simply because they sought to give women the privilege male citizens had: the right to vote. Even while imprisoned, the suffragists did not back down. President Woodrow Wilson eventually caved in, and the 19th Amendment came into effect in 1920, giving women a new power as citizens.
Now, in an election nearly 100 years later, Clinton garnered 3 million more votes than you did, Mr. Trump. I and many of my women friends my age, in our 70s, were among this majority who voted for Clinton. We hoped to see the first woman president of the United States.