Hear Our Voice:

United We Stand is aligned with the National Women’s March in messaging and direction. Last year, the message was for our administration to “Hear Our Voice.” This year, the national movement’s message has evolved to “Power to the Polls.” We at UWS decided to come up with a compromise between those two phrases. After all the phone-calls, faxes, emails, and posts over the past year, we have seen that everyone’s voice is absolutely necessary. We have marched, rallied, and fundraised for social, environmental, and economic justice throughout 2017. We plan to continue raising our voices going forward into this new year, and we cannot negate the upcoming monumental mid-term election this November.

Women have stepped up to run for political office in numbers never seen before in this country’s history, and that is something to be celebrated! The final decision about this year’s theme was solidified after the Alabama senate election where black women took ownership of that vote. We were so moved and so proud of the women who lined up on sidewalks for hours to cast their vote. It was a triumphant moment for everyone here at UWS to see Roy Moore lose when everyone thought he was a sure win. These are all of the things that were taken into careful consideration when choosing our overall message for this year’s Women’s March in Cincinnati.

Voting is the single most important duty in a democracy. Voting rights are sacred and in constant peril of being abused. It takes the vigilance of a strong, informed electorate to make sure all have access to the polls, that every vote be counted, and that no-one gets left behind, marginalized, suppressed, or repressed. This is the continuing work for the “more perfect union.” For women, voting was the first step on an incomplete journey for full equality, and until the Equal Rights Amendment is finally ratified, women continue to be denied full protection under the laws. While we are the majority of the population- we are still marginalized and denied even our bodily autonomy.

We have become aware of dissent in a faction of the activist community from our message about voting. While it saddens us to think those we have supported so often and so deeply feel the need to divisively grandstand at our expense- that is on their leadership to defend. For our part, we will maintain the strength of our movement and the solidarity of the partnerships we have fostered this year, secure in the knowledge that our goals remain unchanged: Women’s Rights are Human Rights, Equality for All, People Before Profits. We have never supported polarizing partisan politics, and while our membership tends toward people of conscience, we have not and will not endorse or promote any candidates. It’s in our user guide. We have not strayed from that principle. In case you are new to Cincinnati, or just never noticed- this is a very segregated city- black from white, rich from poor, native from immigrant. UWS is not “better” than the rest of this city- we have not achieved full intersectionality, but we can tell you, 100% that it is, was, and will be a continuing imperative. We hope this will clarify why we chose “Hear Our Vote” as the powerful message put forth from Cincinnati’s marchers. Whatever you choose to do on on January 20, we hope it will propel you towards justice. It’s all consuming. Chose love, it’s empowering.