As the US election campaign was grinding to a close, an American woman decided to start a secret group called Pantsuit Nation in the belief that the glass ceiling would be shattered for women. From my Parisian home, I added my name when there were just 200,000 members, and the group grew and grew by the hour. The stories that were posted by men, women, LGBTQ were inspiring. As I read them, I found myself fuming with anger, uncontrollably crying with sadness, celebrating with laughter or beaming with happiness. It was incredibly uplifting.
From that large alliance, a couple of expat women and I connected privately on Facebook, and organized to meet in Paris to hopefully celebrate a first in America: a woman in the White House. Lisa Aidan, Tamara Rosenberg and I planned to celebrate with others the Sunday following the election result. We also created Pantsuit Nation-FR, a secret Facebook group, to connect with other like-minded people.
The reality for us was obviously different on November 8th. As the people in our group went though a variety of emotions related to the election, we quickly realized that many of us were not just willing to take the results of this election stoically and move on as our conservative friends advised us, sometimes unkindly. There was a growing consensus in our group that there is too much at stake. We decided that we needed to keep the event that we had planned in place and change the purpose of our meeting.
Pantsuit Nation-FR is currently growing at a quick pace and we are trying to do a lot of things at once. With 600 plus members online in just a few days, about 40 expats in Paris met last Sunday evening to hammer out a program. We are working to:
- Define our mission
- Connect with other groups
- Plan marches and vigils
- Work to provide our members support and positive ways to educate their friends here and back home with credible information
- Work with those who are concerned about the upcoming French elections
- Consult local lawyers about tackling legal initiatives and defending current rights and our US constitution
We do not want to reinvent the wheel set in motion by other active and purposeful associations. There are many excellent groups already functioning in Paris, like the International Support of Black Lives Matter, France. We want to reach out to those groups and unite to work together on issues that have clouded this election. We are stronger together.
Shannon Cain, representing ISBLM in France, attended our meeting and shared their plans for a march on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 1 pm in Paris starting at Place Joffre in the 7th arrondissement. You can find the group on Facebook promoting their event called Protest: Paris Against Trump.
Also, mark your calendars in the new year. On January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day, a candlelight vigil is being planned in Paris along with a “mirror” march on January 21, at the same time a massive women’s march is taking place in Washington, DC.
Our list of concerns is growing as is our private group of enthusiastic volunteers! We want to take positive action in our world to ensure every voice is heard and respected. Listen carefully for updates from Pantsuit Nation-FR.