A Reflection on the Women’s March, Intersectional Activism, and Food

Written by Izzy Moody ’19, GW Food Institute Student Fellow

On Saturday, I stood with hundreds of thousands of women and allies on (and beyond) the National Mall. The sheer size of the event was empowering, and the energy of so many people engaged with so many issues just one day after the inauguration was electric. Even as the crowd was stagnant for hours and the voices of speakers didn’t reach me, I took in hundreds of signs and thousands of faces: defiant and unwavering.

A few things stood out to me. I counted few signs about climate change. Fewer were inclusive of issues affecting women of color, trans folks, etc. None explicitly about food.

My engagement with the march on Saturday strengthened one belief for sure: that silence is compliance and that intersectional activism is key. I- a white woman- and the hundreds of thousands of protesters who turned out for the Women’s March must continue fighting injustices that are old news to so many Americans. We need to participate in Black Lives Matter demonstrations; protest the human and environmental injustices of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines; be loud if/when refugees and Muslims are banned from entering our country.

And we cannot exclude issues of food access, food security, and sustainable food production (etc.) from our dialogue of resistance.

My passion for food derives from its relevance to so many intersectional issues. Food access is an incredibly important component to dialogue on racial-social inequity; black non-Hispanic households comprise 22% of households with higher rates of food insecurity than the national average, and Hispanic households make up 19%. A discussion on immigration policies and immigrant and labor rights is incomplete without talking about our country’s farms, and how 78% of American farm laborers were born outside the country. Furthermore, with global agriculture and food production accounting for a whopping 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions, (not to mention the threat climate change poses to food security and human health), food is absolutely crucial to any conversation about climate change, our economy, and national security.

While I will carry the Women’s March and all its inspiration with me, I will also spend the next four years strengthening and championing the connectivity of my own intersectional activism as it relates to food.