Ayanna Pressley

2019 Boston Women's March - Jan. 21, 2019

Ayanna Pressley
January 21, 2019
2019 Boston Women's March
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Alright family; alright, alright, alight.

Yes. We exist. We resist. And we rise.

I know it is cold out here, but the pursuit of justice is uncomfortable and inconvenient. So buckle up.

You are a glorious sight to behold – I want to thank you all, for being here today, not only in the beloved community on MLK Day, but in collective resistance. Two years ago we were gathered here on the Boston Common, people from all walks of life, committed to a more kind and a more just world. On a bitter, cold, January day, we raised signs that said “today we march, tomorrow we won.” But I think they thought we were just being poetic. But today we stand here actualizing that poetry in motion, and I have the honor of being your congresswoman for the Massachusetts 7th congressional district.

And your sister, in solidarity.

Shoulder to shoulder with all of you here in those that were here two years ago – women who answered the call to run, to serve – who didn’t ask permission to lead. Who didn’t wait their turn. These women are not a monolith, there is no single story to define us, no matter how hard the press and the pundits may try. You can talk about waves and you can talk about magic all you want but what we put in and what we saw play out in 2018 was work. And we are still putting in that work – this is not work that we do alone; while our names might appear on the ballot behind those names are whole tribes, communities, villages, coalitions, movements of women and allies who embody, who actualize, a bold mandate for change – and we are just getting started.

I stand here today emboldened by each of you. In the face of the injustices, of the indignities, of the adversities – you have remained a steady. Met with claims that you are too queer; that you are too black; that you are too young; that you are too visionary; that you are too aspirational; that you are too loud; that you are too hopeful. That you are too angry. What is wrong with righteous indignation, and anger, and rage in the face of injustice? Nothing.

You are hopeful, and you believe that the status quo is insufficient. You believe in the pursuit of equity, equality, and justice – and you believe that women deserve some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Alright. Now as I close, this is Martin Luther King Day, but I’m not gonna quote Dr. King in this moment because what I’ve seen too many times in history, and too many times in the civil rights movements, is the role of women has been erased and reduced – and so in this moment I won’t quote Martin, I’m gonna quote Coretta. Now Coretta Scott King said, “I must remind you, that starving a child, is violence. Neglecting school children, is violence. Punishing a mother and her family, is violence. Discrimination against a working man, is violence. Ghetto housing, is violence. Ignoring medical need, is violence. Contempt for poverty, is violence.”

I have been in Washington now for two weeks – and people have asked me if I’m disillusioned, if I’m dismayed; and I tell them that cynicism is not a luxury we can afford. I wake up every day clear eyed, with purposed feet, and a strength of conviction that you have delivered me to Washington with a mandate to fight for justice. I’m honored to fight alongside you. We exist. We resist. We rise.

And now let me invite to the stage, my sisters in service. Many who were elected, many who ran and were not elect but are still leading movements, contributing to our communities, and we need them to be a part of this change, to eradicate that violence that Coretta spoke about, in all of it’s form. So will the brave women who have taken on mantle of leadership – who ran and were elected, and who ran and won a different victory even if you didn’t win that office – we need you on this stage right now. Join me here.

Pressley, A. [Ayanna Pressley]. (2019, January 21) 2019 Boston Women's March [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34-71QxjpVk]. Retrieved on February 9, 2022 from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFtjr4S5tz4zqZT5cfenkIA.