Women Marching

Like the Million Man March two years ago, there is some debate over the number of women who attended the Million Woman March in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Unofficial estimates by the Philadelphia Police Department put the number at about 300,000; the rally's organizers said as many as 1.5 million women took part.

But, like the march on Washington that drew hundreds of thousands of African-American men from around the country in 1995, the specific numbers are not really the point. The point, many of the women said, is to to show solidarity and to find healing within the black community.

Though the rally, unlike the Million Man March, was not connected to any national black organizations, the small group from Philadelphia who organized the event did put together 12 platform issues. At least one of those issues, separate black public schools, is controversial. Others, such as more programs to support black women entrepreneurs and to help women leaving prison adjust to the outside world, are easily endorsable.

Ultimately, like the men's rally in 1995, the most important legacy of the march in Philadelphia will be translating a day of fellowship into long-term gains. How significant those gains have been since the Million Man March is the subject of debate. What's certain is that making the kind of individual and community changes urged by both rallies will require the attention, actions, and prayers of everyone.

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