In a document that is just beginning to gain wider circulation, Gray Cox, a Professor of Philosophy, Peace Studies and Language Learning at the College of the Atlantic, has proposed that the Million Women March taking place in Washington DC and in cities around the nation add a new aspect, one that takes a symbolic act and makes it practical. If each marcher donates $10 to a an activist cause, then 100,000 marchers turns into a million dollars for change.
Professor Cox’s proposal follows below; he has asked that it be broadly distributed.
A Proposal for a Marchathon as Part of the Trip to DC
One way to add purpose and clarity to the activity of taking part in the Million Women March would be to add the element of a “Marchathon” to it.
Let’s raise money for a worthy cause by asking family, friends and fellow citizens to contribute some amount per distance we travel. They could give a penny a mile to the local YWCA or women’s health clinic. Or a dollar per football field distance of 100 yards we walk to privately fund the prenatal care work of Planned Parenthood that Paul Ryan is intent on defunding.
Let’s make the Marchathon an opportunity for people to connect, to express and feel solidarity by being represented. Everyone who contributes to the funding can also share a photo of herself or himself and the marchers can carry copies of these pinned to their clothes or mounted on banners so when they march it will not be a million people walking but ten million or more. And let the marchers share photos of themselves to be displayed back home during the march – or in state capitals like Augusta, Maine, and other places where people back home are marching.
In the face of the coming slashing of budgets by the government, people want to do something. By taking money we would have spent on personal consumption or on gift cards and candies for Valentines Day, we can. If we are ambitious, if we want to try to meet the standards set by Dorothy Day and Gandhi half way, we could begin to redistribute half our individual income — instead of spending of unnecessary personal purchases that increase our carbon footprint we could spend it on works of solidarity, socially responsible investment and political change. But even if we are not ready to go half way to meeting a future in the Gandhi/Day tradition, we can take some steps, a penny a step or a dollar a mile.
If you do the math, if a million people marching each get ten people to pledge $10, it is not hard to imagine we could raise 100 million dollars for funding worthy projects. If each person could get them to contribute $100 we could raise a billion dollars. Let’s try to get lots of people in the picture, lots of people on the bus, and lots of money on the march.
If you are going to DC, get pledges and snapshots of folks you know. If you are going to be home, plan for some kind of solidarity event for the folks you sponsor – maybe even try to get them to link up by Facetime or Skype during the march until so many do the system crashes. Get those safety pins out to carry each other into the future – and raise some really serious pin money for the people and organizations we want to pin our futures on!