Click to view January 27th published article in The Swarthmorean.
By 6:15 a.m. on Saturday, January 21, 110 people, primarily women, had arrived at Wallingford Presbyterian Church to board 2 buses headed to the Women’s March on Washington. The trip was organized by FUSE (Fellowship of Urban Suburban Engagement), a partnership between houses of worship, community groups and non-profits in Delaware County.
Founded a little over 2 years ago, FUSE’s purpose is “to deepen relationships, extend ourselves to one another, strive wholeheartedly to understand ‘the other’ in our community, help others understand us, and together, create a shared sense of destiny and purpose.”
In this spirit, marchers came together from disparate backgrounds. Most participants were local, but some had traveled to join friends and family. Brian and Judy Ashin drove down from Ann Arbor, Michigan to be with colleague Shari Baron of Media; Cyndie Spencer came in from Palo Alto, California to ride the bus with her college roommate, Mary McTernan of Swarthmore; and Elizabeth Dossett from Nashville, TN was on board with her aunt, Beth Murray of Swarthmore.
Although they shared the common goals of coalescing with others feeling disillusioned by the election and making their voices heard by the new administration, the marchers’ personal motivations for marching varied. On the way down to DC, the organizers offered remarks designed to promote reflection and conversation. On the return trip, participants were encouraged to share their reactions to the day.
Many cited that they were marching for the sake of their children and grandchildren, some of whom are bi-racial or gay, or in honor of their parents or grandparents, or on behalf of their students, patients, or community. Some were concerned about the environment, women’s reproductive rights, and discrimination while others invoked the memory of the Holocaust.
Elizabeth Rubin, of Swarthmore said, “I’m marching for social justice. We need to talk about our differences so that we can understand each other better.”
Cornelia Haselberger, originally from Germany shared, “For me, this march was very powerful because I experienced personally what I have – up to today– just hoped for: that a recognition of the fragility of democracy is building and that there are masses of people feeling like me.”
Jennifer Hasty, of Media said, “I work in the city where I teach African Studies at Penn. Many of my students are young people of color. I am grateful to be going on this particular bus, the FUSE bus, because I think we need to recognize and respect our differences while finding new ways to reach across those boundaries, creating new alliances and solidarities.”
The story sharing was emotional and powerful. Some became teary. Lorraine Frances, of Chester, recalled an adage that she had been taught by her mother and grandmother: “Don’t just talk about it. Be about it.” There was a great sense of purpose on board the buses and, especially at the end of the day, pride and exhiliaration about having been part of a historic moment in history.
Although uncertain about what impact the March will have on changing the minds of those in power, participants definitely felt energized and inspired to tackle the causes that they believe in. Starting local is one strategy. Linda Ciavarelli of Middletown has already begun: “The March has added fuel to my fire of purpose. I am working with a new grassroots political organization in Delaware County to create change. The Meridian Party believes that American government functions best when common sense solutions are found between political extremes. They are organizing to field centrist candidates in local elections in Pennsylvania and North Carolina in 2017.”
Yvonne Harris of Chester summed it up: “I wanted to march for the issues and concerns of women and send a strong message to Mr. Trump that the women of this country stand united to defend women’s rights. I am empowered and will keep this energy going. Today’s march was an affirmation of the power of women.”
One of our members wrote a lovely poem, From My Heart to FUSE Marchers . Just click the title to read or download.
To read a personal accounting from one of our riders- click here!
For FUSE, the day reinforced its key belief in the role that respectful dialogue can play in building stronger communities. For more information about FUSE, email firstname.lastname@example.org .
For FUSE, the day reinforced its key belief in the role that respectful dialogue can play in building stronger communities. For more information about FUSE, please visit www.fusedelco.com or email email@example.com