Almost a week after the fact, the glow has faded somewhat. We are living in frightening times. Worry over the state of our country plagues my thoughts majority of the day; The constant flow of information on the topic doesn’t help. I find myself wishing I could not let it consume me, but shouldn’t it? The attack on basic human rights is so vicious. I realize I am stating the obviously.
It brings hope, however slight, that people are turning up in great numbers to resist. It is a necessary reminder that the majority of the country does NOT feel the way this demagogue does. Rallies, marches, articles, public and political statements…please, let them make a difference and show the groups of people under attack that we will stand by them.
Note: You can click the image above to see the photos larger and individually
Saturday, January 21, we joined millions around the world in a powerful and empowering act of resistance. I needed to turn my despair into something useful….to live words of Gloria Steinem, “…sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are.” Luke’s commitment never faltered…of course he would walk by my side.
In the early morning the air was warm and filled with fog. I rolled up my poster and put it under my arm: Denial Is Not A Climate Policy on one side and Women Are Sacred on the other.We walked through the empty city to our car with a shared feeling of excitement. Hours later we arrived at a metro station outside of DC and pulled into the last of available parking spots. We walked into the station and the crowd pushed and shoved as we inched forward to buy our tickets. At last, we boarded.
I sat next to a woman from Salamanca, formerly of the Spanish Embassy in DC, and we started to talk. She was meeting her daughters to march together. She spoke of her friends and family in Europe and their shared fear over what this administration would bring to the global community…part of our shared fear.
Arriving at Union Station, the throng of people was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. There were thousands of people in every direction. It felt…well, it felt good to be there. It felt right. I’m not sure what time we would have had to arrive to catch sight of the speakers, but there was no nearing that stage. So instead we made our way toward the National Mall. There was real energy in that field: fury, sadness love. It was a much needed space for peace in light of the turmoil this year.
There was also a lot of determination, thank you for that. There were groups and several generations of women, couples and young families. People showed up, even if for the first time ever. In fact, the crowd grew so massive, there was concern over whether or not we could “march” at all; a good problem to have. But in the end, the crowd began to move, and so we marched.
From 3rd Avenue to the White House, we marched. We held our signs high. We chanted–some chants to make us crack a smile, others to share words that needed to be said. The creativity of the messages on the posters was such a source of delight; When did everyone become an artist? From anatomical sketches to perfect Russian lettering to feminist quotes from heroes in real life and on screen personalities were represented, even if just to state the obvious, “Fuck This!” At a point, I don’t recall the intersection, we realized the march had in fact started from different directions and it began to merge. People filled the streets from every direction, coming together on Pennsylvania Avenue.We arrived at the top of a slight hill and looked behind me: It was a sea of people, many in requisite pink pussy knitted caps, as far as I could see. I will not soon forget that image.
As we neared the White House I saw marchers returning; They were putting up blockades before the official end to the march, not allowing us to approach the White House. We wanted to see for ourselves, but of course that was the case. So, we dispersed too.
The journey back to our car exhaustion set in, but not before we let ourselves revel in the enormity of the day. The feeling of so many coming together to act out against terror.
I’ve been asked what the purpose of the march was. But I think part of what made the movement so massive was the fact that it encompassed so many issues. What started as primarily a women’s rights march expanded to included all rights that face serious threat under Trumps rule. I don’t need to list them here, he’s done so sufficiently already. This was an opportunity for anyone with a deep concern of the threats facing this country and the world to show up and demonstrate that WE WILL RISE.
Perhaps obviously, I haven’t stepped out of my comfort zone very much until this election. I think many people, most especially white people, have had this experience, which is a profound privilege. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start now. Quite the opposite. Start. Today. Educate yourself on ways to get involved and show up. It’s time. Be in this together.