Op-Ed: We're in Favor of Saying "Happy Holidays"

Womxn's March on Denver 2019.EXPAND
Womxn's March on Denver 2019.
Danielle Lirette
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As we weather one of the most divisive eras in our nation’s history, even a well-intentioned wish of “Happy Holidays” feeds controversy.

But no matter what holiday we celebrate, humans hunger for a place at the table of acceptance in their communities. Saying “Happy Holidays” matters; it is the voice of welcome and acceptance without assumption.

How can this phrase invoke controversy or offend when it is an inclusive acknowledgement of many beliefs? “Happy Holidays" can imply Merry Christmas without negating other holidays. The greeting recognizes a festive season while offering everyone a seat at the table.

The story of the United States of America is complex. For 300 years starting in the 1600s, enslaved people from dozens of tribal cultures on the African continent were shipped to the East Coast and southern ports. Other waves of immigrants from around the globe sought the peaceful right to practice their beliefs and grow opportunity for themselves. And nearly a million inhabitants were already here with a 15,000-year history of their own rituals.

The 2000 U.S. census cited 573 Native American nations in addition to more than 100 immigrant ethnicities living in the U.S. Given our diverse origins, there are countless traditions contained in this hemisphere.

The complex U.S. of today offers more stories from a universe of voices previously unheard. The 21st century has offered a renewed understanding of human identities to include not just ethnicity, race and spiritual beliefs, but also gender identity and sexuality.

Our cultural cornucopia yields a unique and abundant array of food, art and perspectives. As we have grown our community in supporting the mission of the Womxn’s March Denver, we honor a variety of identities, and recognize that our diverse ancestors oppressed and were the oppressed. Our beliefs count, our voices count, and our votes count.

In our fast-paced world, “happy holidays” offers kindness but also recognizes our diversity. Let’s renew our faith in humanity and make the melting pot into a safe and accepting community.

The leadership team of the 2020 Womxn’s March Denver includes:

- Angela Astle, executive producer and founder, AthenaProjectArts.org

- Dr. Rohini Gupta, clinical assistant professor, University of Denver International Disaster Psychology Program and director of the Trauma and Disaster Recovery Clinic

- Sharon Hwang, owner of the Wellness Center, Inc.

- Kerry O’Grady, U.S. Secret Service Special agent, retired

- Susie Schuckman, nonprofit organization strategist

The Womxn’s March Denver invites you on January 18, 2020, to Civic Center Park for our Fourth Annual March (starting 9:30 a.m.) and Exhibition of Art and Community Outreach at the McNichols Building from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. We are soliciting exhibitors for tables for approximately sixty nonprofit community groups and encourage applications from those who fight for reproductive rights, climate change, gun safety, immigrants, voter registration, sexual assault/domestic violence, and arts activism. Email programming@womxnsmarchdenver.org to participate. Free events will include a cappella choirs and dancer/drummer ensembles outdoors before and after the march. Inside McNichols there will be three free art exhibits, two community art workshops, a live podcast, live-streamed interviews, and other interactive events beginning at 10:30 a.m. Visit womxnsmarchdenver.org to register, purchase tickets and find more details. For those who aren’t able to pay $10 fees for the workshops and podcast, contact programming@womxnsmarchdenver.org. Follow us on social media: twitter.com/womxnsmarchDVR, facebook.com/womxnsmarchdenver and instagram.com/womxnsmarchdenver/.

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