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Women’s March on Washington Recollections

Photo by Dina Kastner

Photo by Dina Kastner

National Association of  Social Workers Senior Field Organizer Dina Kastner, MSS, MLSP, helped bring hundreds of NASW members to Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington on January 21. She decided to write about her experiences:

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, millions of women, men and children joined marches across the world as part of the Women’s March on Washington. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) was proud to be a partner in the marches in Washington, D.C. and in cities across the country.

NASW had over 500 individuals sign up for the March in Washington, DC before we reached the capacity that the website platform would allow. Several more individuals contacted us directly to be involved in the March.

Now, here is my story about the March. The rally for the March started at 10am. I had longtime friends fly and drive in from Chicago and Rhode Island. My friend from Chicago is a social worker working in domestic violence. She arrived late Thursday night. On Friday we prepared for the March by making hand-made signs and getting food to have at the March. Late Friday night, my friend from Rhode Island, also a social worker, arrived with her friend. We knew we’d be getting up early Saturday morning to beat the crowds so we went to bed shortly after they arrived.

We left my house in a nearby suburb of Washington, DC at 7:30am. We were on a Metro train by 8:00am and made it to the NASW meeting spot just before 9:00am. The NASW marchers were expected to arrive between 10-10:30am. Our meeting spot was right near an exit of the Metro. Every so often, as people were coming up the escalators, a roar of cheers would erupt in the crowd. There was such a positive atmosphere.

The march was electrifying, inspiring and a whole lot of fun. I hope that those who marched and those who were unable to march take inspiration from the March and plant their own seeds for justice and equality for all.

At our meet up spot, we were joined by social workers from as far away as California and Oregon and as close as Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. At 10:30 we started to head towards the rally. We made it as far as the National Mall. I ended up with a group of about 10 social workers. We had lots of Social Workers for Social Justice signs. As people walked by we heard cheers of “Yay social workers! “We asked if they were social workers and offered them a sign.

We tried to get close to the rally stage, but could only make it as far as Jefferson Drive. We were surrounded by people who all came to Washington in the hopes of making their voices heard.

Dina Kastner (second from left) at the march.

Dina Kastner (second from left) at the march.

The gathering was so large that it was difficult to find the actual march. This did not deter us. We marched down Jefferson Drive, over to the National Mall and down 7th Street before cutting out on Constitution Avenue.

There were amazing signs all around. My favorite said something like this: “They tried to bury us, but they did not know we are seeds.” The march was electrifying, inspiring and a whole lot of fun. I hope that those who marched and those who were unable to march take inspiration from the March and plant their own seeds for justice and equality for all.

We made it home around 5:00pm and were exhausted but energized. We shared a wonderful meal, posted our pictures on social media and slept well Saturday night.

19 comments

  1. Sandra L Pierce, LCSW-C

    Thanks for representing social workers in DC on Saturday. I was at the Denver March.

  2. I am a retired LCSW. Went to the March with many friends some social workers, Medical professionals, Principals and teachers college professors, It professionals and small business owners and their children.Met women from all walks of life and professions and from all over the country. So many Young people. It was organic and positive and . this is what democracy looks like was my favorite chant. Never saw so many people in DC for a demonstration it was wonderful. We have to continue to let our voices be heard. We need to contact the administration as well as our legislators and we have to contact the committee members on key committees to our concerns from other states who have opposed our priorities. We have to get all social workers in every state in ongoing dialogue with the administration and legislators all over the country. Not enough to contact just our democratic supporters. Lets get everyone checking the NASW list serve every day. Social workers have to be in the dialogue nationally and locally. Please begin to make calls and send letters and send emails starting today. We can make a difference.

    • Nadine Lupton, LCSW

      I am also a social worker and my experience was similar. I am energized by my participation and I am glad so many social workers and other professionals came forward for social justice and equal opportunity for all members of our society.

  3. I’m glad to read this was a good experience for you. I hope you were not among the marchers who told the liberal pro-lifers that they weren’t welcome in the march. I also hope you were not among the marchers who flew f-bombs and used crude language about women’s genitals. My guess is you were awesome and kind because you’re Social Workers!

  4. Hi All Social Workers,

    I am so glad to hear the stories about women, men and children standing up and having their voices heard!

    As social workers we have another opportunity to stand up for voices in American and in our global world. On May 10, 2017 join with Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, children and others who are helping to raise grandchild by participating in the Grand Rally in Washington, D.C. For more information please visit Generations United noted above or contact Adrian Mary Charniak on Facebook for more details.

    Peace,

    Pastor Penny Taylor, MDiv, MSW, LCSW, PhD

  5. Frank Capalbo, LMSW, CASAC-T

    I was not a part of the NASW contingent, but did participate in the March. It was the thrill of a lifetime to be with so many staunch defenders of social justice from all areas of the U.S., various backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and gender identities. WOW! It was also so envigorating and inspiring to remind the government that we refuse to lay down and get steamrolled by the misogyny, racism, and xenophobia released. We social workers need to be in a leadership position in the coming months however we can – individually, in our practice, our organizations, pro bono work. This is why we became social workers. Let’s roll up our sleeves, rally our compatriots, and get to work!

  6. I’m so glad you guys went to “represent” :-). I hope you spoke in your own voice, used whatever language you wanted that represented you and commmunicated the message you wanted to send. I think that that was the purpose of the March; that we are a pluralistic society where all views, that do not seek to discriminate, oppress or damage other groups of people, are welcome.

    A point of correction: according to CNN, the feminists who were anti-choice (everyone is pro-life, unless you’re Jeffrey Dahmer), were welcome at the march. They were just not given a platform to speak on stage, since their message went counter to the March’s purpose, which was in part, enhancing women’s autonomy and choice over their bodies. After all, if part of the reason the March was organized was in response to our new president’s statements about grabbing women’s genitals (essentially sexually assaulting them and denying them control over their bodies), it would seem weird to then promote further ways in which women should be denied autonomy and say over those same reproductive organs and the human female that not coincidentally happens to be attached to them. I have to say though, if I’m president can curse up a storm and be vulgar (like what he calls women’s genitals), I can’t imagine why everyday people, especially women, can’t. I generally think our President should be held to a higher standard…in fact, the highest. Recent events have changed that thinking, so, if he can do it, so can the crowds opposing him!

    • What about Bill Clinton while in the White House was raping and groping women? He lost his law license. Where is your concern about Paul Jones and the rest of his victims? How about Hiliary enabling him because all she did was demean and shame these women. She is a foul mouthed radical who should be in prison for selling influence. BTW when Trump made these statements about women, he was a Democrat and holding political office. So where was your higher standard then ?

      • Do I know you? How do you know what I said about Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior? How do you know if I have integrity or if I’m a hypocrite (oh and I’m figuring you say the same about Malania as you do about Hilary, standing by her man under similar circumstances)?
        I don’t care what political party DJT was before or now (because I don’t think he cares). My opinion of him has never changed. Someone’s political party and values only matter if they match [their history of ] behavior in the world. I respect and value those who serve and commit to caring for others and their community. While no one is perfect (that includes Gandhi, MLK, etc), some are less deplorable and their good deeds are part of the fabric of who they are and the communities they serve. ..just sayin’

  7. Response to January 12, 2017 NASW NJ NewSWire On line publication of the NJ Chapter of the NASW
    Women’s rights are Human rights (Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017)
    The election is over but not the fight against America. This march which is organized and funded by George Soros, Planned Parenthood and other donors is getting local and worldwide media attention
    Their website ( http://WWW.Womensmarch.com) says the this march is the rise of the woman and is the rise of the nation. Let me say loud and clear, they do not represent me. This march spits in my face and the faces of the women who voted for DJT.
    This is the march of the Democrats who does not accept the result of the election and wants to delegitimize the voters and this election which was won fair and square by the electoral vote.
    This is the Democratic Party who see themselves as the party of toleration but only if you agree with them. This is a march against the outsiders who infiltrated the establishment and won the Presidential election for Donald Trump.
    This is the march of the Democratic Party that has a broken record of telling us that we are guilty of racism, sexism, islamophobia, and homophobia and on and on yet this party wanted HRC, the most corrupt, foul mouthed woman guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. Because they didn’t get their way, they are now demanding that we bend to their will. I have news for them, Trump is a street fighter, more so than any other Republican candidate with the exception of Senator Ted Cruz.
    We are the taxpayers and yet the Democratic Party doesn’t want to hear from us. The march talked about the concerns about every voting block except Veterans and the non-degree white voters. It is as if they don’t exist even though this is what cost them the election. Trump’s appeal was to the disaffected white working class and blue dog democrats.
    The march’s website talks about abortion on demand but does not mention those who believe in the right to life. So much for diversity.
    Veterans and their families lost their lives, their limbs and have had their lives altered forever. What about them? I didn’t read their concern about the crippling costs to middle class families because of Obamacare. These families are skipping medical checks and medication because there is so much out of pocket cost. The redistribution of wealth isn’t working out for them now is it? The mantra of the DNC that 20 million have been added to the insurance rolls is a myth. They were put on Medicaid and now the physicians are either leaving their profession or not accepting Obamacare.
    Al Gore lectures us peons about climate change and he flies on his gulf steam jet.
    Obama sends his daughters to exclusive schools but he opposes school choice that would benefit low income minorities because the teachers union, a most powerful constituency opposes it
    This coalition of groups claim they are concerned about violence towards women and minority groups.
    I then ask why not stop the concept of sanctuary cities and support the Second Amendment instead of promoting onerous gun laws which only affect lawful citizens? Why not stop the mistaken concept of gun free zones which is where the terrorists and criminals attack, knowing their targets are defenseless. I didn’t hear any outcries of concern when Trump supporters were assaulted This march is nothing more than rich snobs who have the money and influence to benefit themselves and lead their lives very differently than what they preach to the rest of us.
    I am writing this as a protest to the Women’s March .We cannot allow the DNC radicals to decide what is legitimate. Trump’s decisive victory was against Hillary’s radicalism, identity politics and political correctness. An engaged citizenry is in fighting back on the issues in a way that we have never done before.
    Myrna Amaral, LCSW ACSW

  8. There were Trump voters at the March. They were there, because like the millions who marched across the world, they had shared values. The people who marched share the values of promoting equality, justice, and the survival of the planet. They marched because they care about the many amazing religions, ethnicities, races, genders and sexual orientations that are part of the human population of this and most other countries. They marched to call attention to the need to value and embrace those diversities and the need to ensure fair and equal treatment and access. They marched because we all need to work together to ensure the future of the planet and the people on it. They marched to give voice to the need for solidarity, rather than division. They marched exactly because they represent the values of the majority of this country and other countries, as well as the values and codes of ethics of social work…they marched because we can’t let voices like yours divide us.

    • This was nothing more than an anti Trump march. President Trump was in office 8 hours and Obama was in office for 8 years and there was no protest then. Why not? Obama was busy creating divisions in the country, destroying the American culture and fueling racial hatred. There is not one day that the term white privilege is not used. The college campuses are fueled with Jew hatred . In your world, racism is one sided. Solidarity and diversity? This march initially dis-invited those who were pro-life. When news of this became public, you then invited them back because it just wasnt good optics . There was violence toward a female reported when it was learned that she did not agree with the march. The left owns the media, Obama didnt bother to work with Congress, he just used his phone and his pen. In his last few hours, he wasnt done with his hatred. He gave $221 million dollars to the Palestinian authority but threw Israel under the bus by directing Samantha Powers to abstain from voting on a UN resolution to condemn Israel for building settlements in the ” occupied territories ”
      If you and the Democrats really cared about women, Hillary Clinton would not have been your candidate because she was enabler of her husband who is a rapist. She shamed and threatened these women.
      This march was far from spontaneous. It was organized by George Soros, your leftist billionaire and the who’s who of the American Communists. Are you proud that Angela Davis, was your honorary chairperson, a murderer and avowed Communist ? If Clinton had won the election, the first and second amendment would be gone as well as the Constitution which is the foundation of our country. The only voice heard would be yours because any opposition would be silenced. You want to make sure we have a planet? Obama is responsible for the creation of ISIS . If you marched 8 years ago or even 4 years ago, perhaps the world would have been better. Instead, you choose to march 8 hours after the Inauguration of President Trump
      Your march made the headline all over the world but hearing Madonna wanting to blow up the White House and Ashely Judd with her foul mouth, was offense to many and didnt bring people together . They put the movement in the gutter. .

  9. Myna, I’m not sure who the “you” is that you, Myrna are referring to. We are all in this together and any totalitarianism is not okay. We are all pro-life, and all pro-choice, in that we all believe that human beings should be able to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with equal justice and we all believe we should have choices in how and what we believe and how we exercise that belief. You are allowed to be angry, as I am, and we are allowed to be angry about different things. It’s the beauty of a pluralist society. However, I do not entirely see how your beliefs and values are consistent with the code of ethics and history of the social work profession…but I suppose that’s the role of the NASW and LCSW licensing board. For example, social workers don’t think it’s okay to discriminate against anyone, period. However, we recognize that certain groups historically have been more subjected to both overt and covert bigotry than others. Linchings and the prison system are not subtle vestiges of racism, as was the Holocaust and the current violence against LGBT community, Latinos, Muslims and Jews in our modern America. We need to protect all our brothers and sisters from the subtle and overt bigoted violence. And while you seem to want to paint the “you”, you are referring to with all the same brush, quite frankly, I accept that people are allowed to have horrible bigoted beliefs and feelings, such as disliking me because I’m Jewish or a member of the LGBT community. I don’t think everyone needs to think and feel like me. After all, wouldn’t that be discriminatory.
    But what none of us have the right to do is subtly or overtly use those feelings or beliefs to tell someone else how to live or impede their ability to live and prosper. In other words, we all have the same rights, period. The world is progressing. We are becoming more globalized and less homogenized (thanks to technoly). When groups that used to feel like the majority find themselves challenged, this is destabilizing and scary. But, I would argue, instead of seeing “minorities” as threatening the status quo, we all need to unite to see how the biggest power division is not ethnic, racial or religious, but economic. We need to work together, so all groups have access to the “American dream”, not just a small group of millionaires and billionaires. So, it’s a “we”, not a “you” and “me”. Oh and I imagine you’re just as angry at Malania for “enabling a rapist”, as you are at Hillary. Since we agree it seems to be the same argument.

  10. Reading your response, you are accusing me of being a racist and threatening to take me to the board ?
    What are you the thought police? Is this suppose to shut me up? I thought you believed in free speech but I guess only if I or the rest of us agree with you. This is a tactic of the left to shut us up . What gives you the political privilege to smear people with such a broad brush? . Melania enabling a rapist? LOL! Who did President Trump rape? How did Bill Clinton lose his law license? Ask Paula Jones . All your words about equality, love , etc are just that. You have no tolerance for disagreement and frankly you don’t have the facts or refuse to deny the facts.

  11. My sense of you is that you get goosebumps watching the rioting at the Berkley .
    Since you don’t like it when people disagree, you would probably be into book burning as well.
    You and people who think like you believe in free speech but only if it agrees with you.
    Otherwise you consider it hate speech and look to shut them down.

  12. I’m all for the peaceful marches that take place. I am not in support of foul language, pink genitalia caps worn in the march, threats to blow up the White House, vandalism, destruction of business storefronts and physical attacks on Trump supporters that have occurred in marches in the past two weeks.

    It was reported this morning on the news that the Berkeley rioters were mostly non-students, but outsiders hired to protest Milo Y’s appearance on that campus. It gives me goosebumps that this violence resulted in the cancellation of his appearance there.

    Let us, as professional Social Workers, to LEAD the way to PEACEFUL marches!

    • I am certain Michele Topal gets goosebumps She talks all love and peace until you disagree with her . Then she is ready to have your license lifted. I question your reporting that these were not students as there is no evidence because arrests were not made. I would not be surprised if the rioters were students and outsiders paid to riot. This is what happened in Ferguson. The city of Berkeley is guilty of sympathizing with these rioters . You are seeing the future of NJ after Governor Christy leaves office.

      • The “we” I was referring to, Myrna, included you. But you seem determined to be angry. And while I am acknowledging our differences in perspective, and questioning whether the values you are expressing are in line with the NASW/LCSW code of ethics, I am trying to find common ground and purpose. You seem to be determined to be divisive and use labels, rather than see ideas or empathize with common interest. So, since you seem more interested in conflict, than in seeing where we might agree and where we might share values (because I agree that women in relationships with men who have issues with power and sex, are in a no win situation), I’ll discontinue engaging you and subjecting others here to an engagement that is contentious without purpose. I wish you the best. And though you may read this as insincere, I will state here, that however you receive that, my intention is authentic and sincere.

        • You must be a follower of Saul Alinsky because all you write are leftist talking points including your accusation that I am a racist. Of course we won’t have common ground. I believe in free speech you don’t. You would take me to the board and have my license removed because of my ethics? You would do well in Fidel Castro’s Cuba who used neighbors to spy on their neighbors and report them . Next thing you know they are dragged out of their house never to be seen again. You need to take the blinders off and look at what you are saying . Why don’t you question your own ethics since you support a Womens March which had Linda Sarsour, an anti Semite and a terrorist sympathizer. Sarsour dismisses the fact that women in Saudi Arabia are treated as second-class citizens who are unable to drive, interact with men, and dress as they please as inconsequential. Why aren’t you angry about that? Where do you get off saying that Melania Trump defends a rapist? Why arent’ you angry at Hillary Clinton for enabling her husband Bill Clinton to continue his sexual misconduct? You write leftist talking points as if you were a robot.
          No we don’t have common ground. I couldnt support someone like Linda Sarsour so how could you? You do not support free speech, you do not support women’s rights, you do not support freedom.

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