'Be Mad As Hell and Work Toward Something': 10 Activists on Fighting for Justice

Wisdom from some of the amazing women we've profiled and interviewed in honor of today's Women's Strike.

by Broadly Staff
Mar 8 2017, 3:25pm

Today—March 8th, 2017, International Women's Day—women throughout the globe are going on strike. They are not protesting Trump and his army of racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic supporters specifically; according to a mission statement published in the Guardian, today's goal is to oppose the steadily deteriorating conditions for all women, "especially those of women of color and of working, unemployed, and migrant women." This reality wasn't ushered in overnight, with the election of a buffoonish demagogue—it's the result of decades of policies that undermine women, and women's labor in particular.

In honor of today's protests, and of the ongoing struggle, here is the collected wisdom of some of the amazing activists and politicians we've spoken to over the past year, during Trump's rise to power and in the aftermath of his election. Our fight is ongoing, and their reflections—on resistance, on bravery, on getting involved—may prove invaluable.

Photo via Flickr user Matthew Lippincott

"Courage is not fearlessness. Courage is the ability to keep going, even when you are unsure of yourself, even when you are nervous, and even when you are terrified. If you can still fight when the odds appear to be against you, and when it looks like you might be fighting it alone, then you are genuinely brave."

Chelsea Manning, whistleblower and anti-surveillance activist

Photo by Arun Chaudhary

"I want people to be mad as hell. Be mad as hell and work toward something. Find an issue and find a candidate that you believe in."

Nina Turner, former Ohio State Senator and Bernie Sanders surrogate

Photo courtesy of Laura Hinman

"They want us to cower and run the opposite way. But that's not our way. We will not let these feelings take over. We will stand strong and smile... We are facing the same beast our ancestors have faced for hundreds of years. I feel this fight in my bones, in my blood. I was born to be here."

Laura Hinman, Native activist and Standing Rock protester

Photo courtesy of Wendy Carillo

"There are levels of severe disappointment and apathy. A lot of people want to give up, but this is the exact opposite moment to give up. We need more young people, more people of color, and more women to step into leadership roles. And we don't need to be tapped on the shoulder or ask for permission—we just need to do it."

Wendy Carrillo, activist and former undocumented immigrant running for Congress in California

"[My 13-hour filibuster against Texas' omnibus anti-abortion law] was such a symbolic representation of what can happen when we get so pissed off that we literally start screaming about it... It speaks to the power of what can happen when we fight for our values. Even when we lose, good things happen in the process."

Wendy Davis, former Texas State Senator and founder of Deeds Not Words

Photo by Olivia Paschkes

"If you understand racism as a system and an historical phenomenon—instead of happening in a vacuum—it's easier to empathize, it's easier to understand, and it's easier to combat because you know what you're fighting."

Blair Imani, founder of Equality for HER

Photo via Wikipedia

"Try to do something practical, something that's going to make a difference—but there's a risk. Without taking the risk, you won't ever get anywhere."

Joan Baez, legendary activist and folk singer

Photo courtesy of Mariame Kaba

"We should take care of each other and help each other out. It's not an individual pursuit. Everything in this county is so fucking individualistic and so rooted in capitalism I can't stand it... I just see it as my life. Just like, organizing is my life, and part of the rent that I pay to live on this planet."

Mariame Kaba, organizer, educator, and writer

Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood

"To be a movement, you need to have people moving."

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood

Photo by Kim Raff

"We don't have a representative democracy anymore, and the only way to fix that is to elect people who really understand the issues that matter."

Misty Snow, the first trans candidate for a major political party in a US Senate election

women's strike