Marching on

Jackie Shelton


Local publicist and community leader Jackie Shelton was involved in organizing the Reno women’s march. She is now involved in advancing things beyond the march. Her next event for marchers is posted at And the national organization is posting a “10 Actions for the First 100 Days” schedule.

By any standard, the march would be considered a success. Now what?

Well, now we need to decide what comes next. What can we do to help each other? For me, personally, I figure there are certain things I can do at the national level. I can call my congressman every day and those kinds of things, but what I can do at the local level is help local organizations that are helping women.

I was listening to a program Michael Moore did at the end of the John Kerry campaign, and he said that the election should be just the beginning. Well, it was pretty much the end. Kerry’s supporters dissipated politically. Few of them kept on that activism. Why would this movement be different?

I’m actually really excited about what’s happening right now. I feel like people are paying attention where they never were before. Almost every event I’ve gone to since the election has been packed—even on, you know, snowy, crazy weather days. You walk in a room, and there’s 150 people there. People are fired up like I have never seem them before. And I’ve talked to [those] who have—they’ve voted in the past and that’s it. You know, I talked to somebody who never even voted before and now she’s out at events and saying, “What can I do to help?” People want to help people who are different from them. You know, it’s not just, “How do I protect my own interests?”—which, obviously, we need to do that, too. But it’s “How do I protect other people?” too, and I haven’t seen that kind of passion in a long, long time.

When the tea party and occupy movements were getting going, there was a lot of, “We don’t want to deal with people at the top,” and “We don’t want to have leaders.” It was so amorphous. Is there a danger of that here?

Well, obviously I’m not in charge of that, but I don’t think so. I think that we understand the way reality is, and we understand who’s making those decisions. What we need to understand at the grassroots level is how to influence those decisions. You know, we need to understand—do we call, do we email, do we fax, do with tweet? What’s the most effective way to make our voices heard, and we need to do that. … [W]ith social media, not only will you be able to see that you’re not alone—that there’s people all over the world who agree with you on a lot of issues—but also, “What do I do?” … I attended a seminar on crisis communication with Phil Ulibarri from the county. And one of the things he said is, when you’re at a crisis, there’s fire, and there’s people standing around, you want to give them something to do. … After the election … everyone was saying, “What do I do?”

Can you keep people angry? That’s enormously motivating.

I’ll tell you, Dennis, it’s not my goal to keep people angry. I’m not angry. I can’t be angry for four years. I had this same discussion with my son. He said that anger’s a lot more powerful than hope. I disagree. … I’m very hopeful for our future. I’m very hopeful that we can work together.