Longtime RVA lesbian activist Beth Marschak’s speech from March on Monument
This weekend, RVA’s most famous street played host to thousands of community members standing against hate, bigotry and the impending presidency of Donald Trump. Among those who attended and spoke was Beth Marschak (top image), co-founder of Richmond Lesbian-Feminists and an all around social justice bad ass. Below are the words from her speech (with slight context edits) from this weekend. Thanks to Lora Beldon for the awesome photo.
In solidarity with the March on Washington, members of the Richmond, Virginia community are coming together for this social justice march, the March on Monument. We are peacefully assembling as one diverse and inclusive community to send a message that Richmonders are standing up for those in danger of oppression and being marginalized. We aim to galvanize our diverse community and move forward in positive action together.
True unity does not come from ‘smoothing things over’, but by recognizing and celebrating our differences, then looking for ways that we can support each other’s efforts.
In the words of the Women’s March on Washington organizers, “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country – women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths, particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQ+, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and the survivors of sexual assault. In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore – women’s rights are human rights. We stand together recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
When Richmond Lesbian-Feminists started in 1975, we wanted to eliminate racism, sexism, classism and all forms of social oppression, institutional violence and poverty. Many of you helped to make progress happen in those areas, what is happening now is a reaction to our successes, but there is still much to be done. I want to share several short quotes from a great civil rights worker and leader Coretta Scott King, who was also a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ rights:
“Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”
“Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.”
“I must remind you that starving a child is violence. Suppressing a culture 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.”
“Love is such a powerful force. It’s there for everyone to embrace-that kind of unconditional love for all of humankind. That is the kind of love that impels people to go into the community and try to change conditions for others, to take risks for what they believe in.”
So, in the spirit of Coretta Scott King, let’s each make a commitment to take those risks and work in our communities for those changes.
The Big Oh! opens Diversity Richmond’s doors and says goodbye to outgoing Chair of the Board Beth Marschak
“I have been an activist all my life, so I’ll continue to do that,” said Marschak.June 1, 2016
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