Why Sheetal Marches

As a child of hard-working immigrants, I believe all Americans have a right to pursue their dreams regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or socio-economic background. I believe everyone should have access to affordable healthcare, and a woman has a right to choose. I believe in science. Right now, leadership of this country is trying to dismantle ideals held dear to millions. I am marching to let the president-elect know we are not going down without a fight. #readytorumble, #justhowiwasraised, #whyimarch

Sheetal co-leads the South Asian Coalition for the Boston Women’s March. She is a management consultant at Slalom and holds an MBA from Babson College.

PHOTO: Leslee_atFlickr

Why Roopa Marches

I march so that we can light a way to equality for all who follow. I march so that we can break down barriers that continue to persist in society. I march, so that our voices can be heard, and with each step, I hope we will get closer to creating a society where equality truly exists. We, as a society, are quick to compartmentalize one another and create an artificial divide, but are slow to realize the commonality between us. We need to focus on the fact that at our core we are one – we are human. And, the key to being human, in my opinion, is having the capacity to be kind to each other. We must build each other up. We must not discriminate based on factors like race, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

Personally, I have been lucky to have received an education (AS Honors in Computer Science, BS Honors in Science, and Doctorate in Jurisprudence – JD) and achieve all I have. I’m a lawyer with my own firm, a journalist, author, illustrator, TV host, model, pageant queen (Ms. Woman of Achievement International 2017), Girl Rising Ambassador, and an Ambassador for Indian Dreams Foundation. The latter two organizations focus on getting girls’ quality education and helping them achieve their goals. Unfortunately, many in our society have not been as lucky. Globally, over 62 million girls are not in school due to various societal and cultural barriers. They continue to substantially lag behind boys with regards to secondary school completion rates. They continue to earn less than their male counterparts who have the same qualifications as they do. This is not right.

We need to ensure that we bring our girls up in the world. As Gandhi said, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate an entire family.” To ensure a stronger future, we need to allow our girls to come up in the world. I hope this march reminds us all about the need to support our girls and let them know that they too deserve to achieve everything they want to.

Roopa Modha has achieved success in a variety of disciplines: from law, entertainment, and science, to fashion, dance, and music. Her book, The Fish That Wanted to Go to School, encourages girls to stay in school. Due to her work for women’s rights, Roopa was selected to attend the White House’s Women Summit (2016) that celebrated women achievers and change-makers, as well as a NASA symposium for women in computer science. She has received many honors for her work, including a “certificate of special recognition” from US Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT), citation from US Congressman Jim Hines (CT), and proclamation from Mayor David R Martin (CT).

PHOTO:Michael Krigsman


Why Jean Marches

I am marching for my daughter. When I adopted her in 2001, I brought her home to a country I believed offered opportunity. On November 4, 2008, still a young girl, I brought her into the voting booth with me and let her circle the oval that said “Barack H. Obama” for President. Now as young women, after the election this past year, she was hit hard by the corrosive rhetoric that was all around us, and fearful and sad about what the future might hold for her. She is proud to be a Cambodian-American, proud to be an immigrant. I want to restore her faith and her confidence in the promise that America should hold for all its citizens.

Jean Monahan lives in Salem, MA, with her daughter, who is now a junior at Salem Academy Charter School. She is the author of three published works of poetry, Hands, Believe It or Not and Mauled Illusionist. She works full time in marketing at a local hospital. In the last twelve years she has been very involved in an all-volunteer, non-profit organization known as Cambodian Heritage Camp, where she has coordinated and also developed cultural programming working closely with many Cambodian-American community members and counselors, who generously share their Cambodian culture with the adoptive families.

PHOTO: Michael R
Beacon Hill

Why Sonya Marches

I woke up on November 9th not knowing what the future would hold for my family. As a Pakistani-American Muslim woman and child of immigrants, I was afraid. I hate feeling afraid.  So I choose, instead, to focus on the positive and to focus on action.

This march represents that to me —a place where we can put our energy, our warmth, along with our sense of community, and create something so much larger than just me and my fears.  I march because this is our generation’s opportunity to shine and to show the world, and each other, what our true values are.  Throughout the preparation of this march, I have met the most incredible inspiring women and have heard the stories of the many people that will be joining together on January 21st. I haven’t felt afraid since I signed up.


Sonya Khan is a graduate of Georgetown University and Boston University School of Public Health.  She is a program director for a health policy research non-profit and has a background in political event planning, health policy and drug development.

PHOTO: Nicholas Erwin

The Well-Dressed Marcher

March Guru has a conundrum.

Look good or be comfortable.

Is there really ever a choice? You don’t want to get too cold, but then again, isn’t it worse to be too hot? To sweat into wool or down or fleece? Oh, the horror.

When marching in New England, one always has to be prepared for the weather. Keyword? Layers. And no matter how tempting it may be to slip into some cool looking kicks or, egads, boots with heels, you really have to go water resistant at a minimum to avoid wet toes and slippage. Check out these some fashionable tips (and practical advice)  for rocking that march route runway. From Wardrobe Oxygen.

PHOTO: Andy McLemore

How to Chant Like A Pro

March Guru loves a good chant. A good chant focuses the energy of the crowd on an important issue like a laser. They can really make your message pop. When you have large groups chanting with you, the chant becomes a symbol of collective power.

The March will have chant leaders who will fire up the crowd, but your group might want to write and chant something of your own which other groups may then pick up.

Check out these pro-tips from labor organizers for writing a killer chant and come to the Boston Women’s March for America with your own chants and blow us all away. Be positive, not negative. Show the way forward.

PHOTO: Carmen Jost
Old School Mood

Why You Should Plan To Make a Little History on Jan. 21.

The March Guru offers a miscellany of suggestions for making a day of it on January 21. 2017 in Boston.

The March Guru loves to make history and hopes you do as well. We will look back at Boston Women’s March for America one day and tell everyone in the coffee shop with us that, yes, we were there that day. 

So take a moment for yourself to mark the day. Take pictures, of course. Put them on Facebook and in 5 years, Facebook will remind you that you were there. If your write, send yourself or a very young person a postcard about the March. Make a promise on the day of the March and keep it. Write a letter to a Senator. Post a comment in a news story about the March.

And then do something.

It’s the doing something AFTER the March that will leave the biggest legacy of all. And that’s how you make history.

Check out the list of community partners on our website and find an organization to volunteer with or an issue to take on.


PHOTO:Faisal Akram
Flying Red Shoes

Rev. Mariama White-Hammond to present at the Boston Women’s March for America

Rev. Mariama White-Hammond was born in Boston, MA in 1979. The child of two preacher-doctors, Mariama grew up with an understanding that God calls us all to serve our fellow man. Mariama’s activism began in high school and continued at Stanford University where Mariama was involved in campus politics and in the arts. She majored in International Relations, studied abroad in Chile, and focused on the political and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean in the aftermath of dictatorships and/or civil wars.

In September 2001 Mariama became the Executive Director of Project HIP-HOP (Highways Into the Past – History, Organizing and Power), an organization she had been involved with the organization since high school. Project HIP-HOP is a youth-led that engages young people in critical thinking, artistic production and community organizing. At PHH, Mariama used the arts as a tool to raise awareness about social issues and help young people to find their voice and share their ideas with the world. She taught young people to draw on the history of their ancestors for wisdom and strength. During her time there, the organization performed for Mayor Walsh, Governor Patrick as well as in the streets of Roxbury, Chinatown, East Boston and throughout the city.

For her work in the non-profit sector Mariama has received numerous awards including the Barr Fellowship, the Celtics Heroes Among Us, The Roxbury Founders Day Award and the Boston NAACP Image award. In June 2014, Mariama stepped down as Executive Director to focus on her work within the church. She continues to serve the Boston community as a board member of FOCUS, Inc. (affordable housing) and UP Academy in South Boston & Dorchester (elementary and middle school). She serves in an Advisory role to ArtsEmerson, Green The Church, and Right to the City Boston VOTE!

Mariama is ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She serves on the ministerial staff at Bethel AME Church in Boston and is a Masters of Divinity Candidates at Boston University School of Theology. She serves as a Ecological Justice Minister at Bethel AME Church and as a member of the leadership team of Mass Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action. Her goal is to challenge the Christian church to embrace a more radical understanding of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. She believes that the church must be responsive to issues like street violence, mass incarceration, climate change, AIDS, food security, and human rights.


PHOTO: Ashley
Boston Hip Hop Peace + Unity Fest ’07
With De La Soul + Slick Rick at City Hall Plaza, 2007

Champion of the rights of low-wage workers Roxana Rivera to speak at the Boston Women’s March for America

Roxana Rivera has been organizing low-wage workers for over twenty years, fighting for workers’ rights and justice for immigrants. She has been a part of and led hunger strikes and strikes in California and New England, including those part of the historic Justice for Janitors struggle in the 1990s.

After nearly a decade with Local 615 driving member engagement work and leading the commercial division, Rivera was appointed by 32BJ President Hector Figueroa to head up New England District 615. The district represents 18,000 janitors, security officers, and workers in higher education across New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and is part of 32BJ, which has over 145,000 members in eleven states and Washington DC.

PHOTO:Chase Carter
Janitorial Workers of Capital Properties Protest, 2012

Nkosi Nkululeko, award-winning poet, will perform at the Boston Women’s March

The March is thrilled to announce that poet Nkosi Nkululeko, a Callaloo Fellow, will be performing at the March.

Nkosi is multi-nominated for Best of the Net, as well as nominated for the Independent Best American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize. He is affiliated with the I Sell The Shadow collective, for which he has performed in venues for The United Nations and in Copenhagen, Denmark for the Women’s Deliver conference.

Nkosi is a featured speaker on TEDxNewYork in 2016 and a finalist for the 2016 Winter Tangerine Awards for Poetry. His work can be found in [PANK] Magazine, VINYL, No Token, and other publications. He lives in Harlem, New York.

Learn more about him on his Facebook page.