How to Represent ME at the Women’s March

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#MEAction Colorado is organizing a small cohort to join the Women’s March in Denver this Saturday, Jan. 19th. (See details.) We plan to walk the shorter, ADA-friendly route with empty wheelchairs displaying signs that say, “Too ill to be here,” listing names of Colorado people who cannot participate due to ME, and carrying #MillionsMissing banners to raise awareness about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). We will also carry signs calling out the inaction of the NIH, CDC and HHS, and hand out pamphlets about #MEAction.  

We are focused on encouraging healthy allies, family and friends of people with ME to walk for those who cannot tolerate the exertion and stimulus of attending the rally.  

“We believe that ME research and treatments are in the current state in large part because it is seen as mostly a woman’s health issue so we wanted to specifically call out this aspect of ME awareness,” said caretaker, John Kelty, whose wife has ME. John is helping to organize #MEAction Colorado’s participation in the march. “The Women’s March is a very public venue so we hope to achieve a lot of awareness with relatively little effort.”

The group was also inspired to join the national women’s march by the book, “Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick,” which explores how women are routinely disbelieved and undertreated by the medical profession for a variety of diseases, including ME, heart disease and autoimmune diseases, and are routinely treated as hypochondriacs whose symptoms “are all in their head.” The book also details how the research community has neglected diseases affecting predominantly women, and focused on the male anatomy in its research studies leading to a dearth of understanding about the female physiology.   

#MEAction Colorado is participating in the women’s march from a nonpartisan standpoint.

“Women’s health issues are a major and ongoing feminist issue that doesn’t go away or get resolved when the other party is in power, so we felt comfortable taking part in the march from a non-political point of view,” explained John. “All of our signs and messaging will be non-partisan even if the overall march has a different flavor.”

Participate in your local march

#MEAction Colorado encourages other local groups to participate in the 2019 Women’s March this Saturday to raise awareness of ME, and offers the following tips:

  • Rally your community to participate with you – call on your friends, family and community to show their solidarity for people with ME
  • Decide on the time and meeting place and route
  • Create signs, or print ones from previous #MillionsMissing demonstrations. Bring a few extra for those who show up without signs. See posters.
  • Create an event to share on #MEAction’s events page and social media.
  • Wear a #MillionsMissing shirt (over your coat!) Purchase here.
  • *Bonus: Print #MEAction handouts about the disease to pass out.

New York City

People who can’t march in person due to illness or disability can partner with an individual on-the-ground to act as their representative as part of the #MarchWithMe initiative. Learn more.

Washington, DC

The Women’s March Disability Caucus has provided information about accessibility for participating in the Washington, DC march, here.

 

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