(BIVN) – A Maui grandmother whose post-election outrage launched a nation-wide movement was in Hilo on Saturday, helping mark the one year anniversary of the Women’s March on Hawaii Island.
“I keep thinking everyone knows the origin story because I’ve told it so much,” Teresa Shook told the overflow crowd at Mo’oheau Bandstand just after noon today, after being asked to share her experience at the microphone.
“I woke up after the election,” Shook recalled. “I was not really happy. I was really unhappy. So I got on a chat and there were women and they were depressed, and they were sad, and they felt powerless. They just kept talking about how horrible it was. And I thought, well this won’t do. We have to do something. I didn’t want to sit around and feel powerless. So I started a Facebook event page.”
“I went back and I said, hear our voice,” Shook said she posted on the social network. “We won’t be silent anymore. And we’re gonna stand up for a fair, just, and inclusive America. A fair, just, and inclusive world, where there is equality for women. Where there’s equality for all people.”
“So I said that in the Facebook post, and we’re gonna march on Washington, and we’re gonna march the day after inauguration and we’re gonna say: welcome to your first day of office,” Shook said, to the cheer of the Hilo crowd. “Then, after I made that event page, I went back on where I was chatting and I invited a few people. I made it a private event, because people warned to me about trolls and it could get shut down. So, I made it a private event. Friends could invite friends.”
“I went to bed, there maybe 70 people coming,” Shook remembered. “I woke up the next day. Over 20,000 people.”
“Facebook shut it down,” Shook said. “So I really don’t know how many people were really coming at that point, because Facebook was so overloaded that no one could send out Evites. So my message box was full. My friend request was full, people trying to get invitations.”
“For a millisecond I thought, maybe if I close the computer it’ll go away,” Shook confessed. “Because it’s like – okay, well, I have to get busy now. So I pulled some women in to help me get it started, and they pulled some women in who were connected, and fortunately, we did it. And we, in two and a half months, we made the impossible, possible.”
“The largest march in recorded U.S. history,” Shook said. “Over five million people around the world joined us. Then, what did you all do? You made it a movement.”
Shook thank those in attendance. “Mahalo for standing up with me that day. For continuing the work in whatever way you contribute,” she said. “It helps the cause. Keep resisting. Keep standing up. Do it in solidarity. 2018 is ours. We’re gonna march on the polls. We’re gonna bring our power to the polls. We’re gonna flip Congress.”
Big Island Video News will have more from today’s march.