On Jan. 21, approximately 500,000 women, men and children participated in the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., along with hundreds of thousands of marchers in events held in all 50 U.S. states. Similar marches were also held in cities on all five continents. I attended the march in Washington, D.C., and the majority of the women and men were marching to voice opposition to attempts to roll back women’s rights – access to health care, reproductive freedoms and protections against domestic violence – as well as advance ongoing initiatives such as equal pay for equal work, criminal justice reform, climate change, immigration rights and LGBTQ rights.
No matter where you stand on the necessity of the Women’s March – or whether it was more aimed at rebuking Donald Trump’s presidency – the marches’ numbers were impressive, especially since it was an organic, homegrown movement organized primarily through social media. The marches also demonstrated what makes America special – that we have the Constitutional right to voice our opinions and to assemble peacefully. As someone who has traveled to many countries around the world, I’ve met individuals in countries such as Vietnam and Zimbabwe who would give anything for such rights.
Right before press time, America lost an acting legend, Mary Tyler Moore. Moore was a pioneering woman in television, one of the first women to headline her own comedy show in the early 1970s with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which was produced by Moore and her husband Grant Tinker’s own production company. Playing the associate television producer Mary Richards, she was seen as a feminist hero, as an over 30, single, independent and professional woman at a time when the country was debating such issues as equal pay and birth control. As a child growing up in the early 1970s, my mother and I watched the show religiously, laughing at the antics of Mary, Rhoda, Phyllis, Lou, Ted, Sue Ann and Murray. Years later, when watching reruns, I gained a greater appreciation for Moore’s character as a single professional woman living her life on her terms. I guess you’d say that Mary Richards was my first feminist hero.
Moore endured an incredible amount of personal pain and struggle in her own life. Both of her parents were alcoholics, and she lost her two siblings at an early age – a sister who died of a drug and alcohol overdose and a brother who died of cancer. Moore’s only child died when he accidentally shot himself, and Moore struggled later with alcoholism, as well as a lifelong battle with diabetes. She channeled that pain in an unforgettable performance in “Ordinary People,” but through it all, though, she “turned the world on with a smile.” I95