The movement Burke had created—a movement that had been, from the beginning, about the survivors of sexual violence, particularly girls and women of color from low-wealth communities—soon stretched, in its new purview, far beyond sexual harassment and assault. Under its broadened banner came conversations, wide and narrow at once, about complicities, and celebrities, and pay disparities, and power structures, and whisper networks, and affirmative consent, and the myriad ways American culture has dreamed up to tell the marginalized that their rightful place remains, despite it all, in the margins.
It is a common phenomenon, this impulse to crowd many things under a single tent that goes from big to bigger. Those who gathered, in January of 2017, to participate in Women’s Marches across the country did so to protest a wide mix of grievances, from the new president’s misogyny to the threats the just-installed administration represented to immigrants, to civil rights, to LGBTQ rights, to reproductive rights, to human rights, to science, to kindness, to the fate of facts. The March for Our Lives, a year later, not only protested gun violence in schools, but also asked wide-ranging questions about who gets heard within a political system that remains deeply biased toward power and wealth and maleness and whiteness. This weekend’s Families Belong Together rallies made good on their core proposition—participants marched and chanted for the reunification of migrant families separated at the U.S. border—but were also about Roe v. Wade, and also about immigration more broadly, and also about, coming as they did just before the Fourth of July, what it really means to be patriotic.