By some estimates one in ten people in these sometimes United States participated in the Women’s March on Saturday, January 21st. All across this nation millions of people gathered in cities to let their voices and vision be heard. There were no riots, there was no carnage. Just a very powerful statement. So let’s not let that just be an “event.”
What I mean by that is that there has been a line drawn in the sand where people of this country have shown that they want to make a difference. People want equality and fairness and opportunity.
Not coincidentally that’s what the election was all about as well. While it might seem ironic, the reason we got the president we did and the message sent in the Women’s March are almost the same - Americans want there to be a chance for Americans to do well. All Americans.
Let me be emphatic in writing that I am absolutely not making a political statement here. This is not a post either for nor against this Administration. I know many, many friends who spent their own time and money to participate in the Women’s March - some even went to Washington, D.C. while others participated locally.
This election was also about seeing a change - more jobs, less government intrusion on our lives and greater opportunity. The Women’s March was about seeing a change - more jobs, greater opportunity for all. It’s as if we all want the same thing but say it rather differently, isn’t it?
So today we have the opportunity to go back to our regular lives and do what we always did, or make a change. Remember that if you always do what you always, did, you always get what you always got. The election and the Women’s March can be a signal to start making a difference or just sitting back and watching.
The real way to empower someone is to give them opportunity. Whether or not you like statistics, they do show that women have an average rate of pay that is lower than men in comparable positions. Women have coined the phrase “glass ceiling” to mean that they can only rise so far in the ranks of business but can’t go beyond that, but they can see the top.
If we all work together to create more opportunity locally for all Americans this will make a tremendous difference. This economy is empowered by small, locally-owned businesses - that’s where the real power of the American economy is.
So I am going to ask all those who voted or participated in the Women’s March to come back to work today and use your voice to empower local business. Shop from a locally-owned business first. Work within your community with organizations that help start or support locally-owned businesses such as the Chamber of Commerce.
I know a good number of people who had the means to travel to participate in the Women’s March and those people have the experience of business ownership that they can impart on a new generation of business owners. Many of the people who read this blog are small, single-owner businesses (I see you!) and it would be great to have the experienced business owners join or create organizations that help new business owners succeed.
While there are truly many reasons Americans are frustrated today one of the things we hold in our own hands is our wallets. That is a powerful force that we can either use to support ideologies that we disagree with, or those that empower us. We also have the power of our own minds - those who have created their own success have an opportunity to show the pathway to the next generation.
I hope that this huge voice across these sometimes United States is the start of a new empowerment for all citizens. Today we have the will, the desire and the opportunity to make a difference and by starting locally, we can make our own communities a greater place. By promoting small businesses in our own communities we can start the process of turning the glass ceiling into a window of opportunity.
My thanks to The Verge for the image used in this blog post.
Written by Anthony B. Barthel