1 Powerful Way Pantsuit Nation Is Moving Offline and Onto the Streets
Members of Women and Allies, including Ann Massaro (second from left)
Like so many women, Ann Massaro was emotionally devastated by the results of the presidential election. "I'm a survivor of sexual abuse, so having this man potentially as our president was very personal for me," she tells POPSUGAR. "I cried that first day, out of that place that I've healed from; that took me from being a victim to becoming a survivor. Then I sat down and I said to myself: 'Bullsh*t. I know what to do!'"
Massaro, 68, turned to Facebook group Pantsuit Nation — which famously became a phenomenon, a safe space, and a rallying point for women and allies both during the election and in its aftermath — to connect with other women and formulate ways to fight back.
Now, along with Deborah Haber, who serves as a moderator on the popular Facebook page, Massaro is helping lead a new movement aiming to turn the community's online momentum into a real force for change. On Monday, Dec. 12, Strike Out and Protest rallies are expected to draw thousands of women in more than two dozen cities across America to demonstrate against the election of Donald Trump. Their immediate goal, according to Massaro? "To stand up and do everything we possible can before that meeting [of the electoral college] on the 19th."
Both Haber, 42, and Massaro are longtime social-justice advocates. Massaro helped register black voters in Southern states during the Civil Rights Movement, while Haber's efforts on behalf of the LGBTQ community were partially sparked by her uncle's death from AIDS in the early '90s. Naturally, Haber tells POPSUGAR, activism was naturally top of mind for her in the hours after Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 presidential race. "The number one thing I said at 3 a.m., in a private group online, was: 'There needs to be a march, and it needs to be led by women of color and immigrants and Muslims, and it needs to be a coordinated movement.'"
While the aim is to spark real-world demonstrations and action, both women also stress the value of online communities like Pantsuit Nation. "I need both. I think everybody needs both," Haber says. "We need a safe space we can gather ourselves together in and to take it out into the world and confront people." As Massaro puts it: "We need to get in their faces."
The Women's March slated for Washington DC on Inauguration Day may be garnering the bulk of media attention, but Haber tells us Strike Out and Protest is an attempt to recognize the urgency of the situation — and the power we still have to make change. "To me, standing up against inauguration is not as important as preventing this president-elect from becoming president," she says. "It has been grueling, but there is literally nothing more important to me, in my lifetime, than stopping this man from becoming president."
To find out more about a rally near you, visit the Strike Out and Protest Facebook page.