This election has left a large swath of the population feeling angry, mourning and unheard. It created massive divisions throughout the country that far outreached the politicians and the Cheeto tinged manchild that now stands in the White House. It tore open deep racial wounds and brought hate speech and hate crimes to the forefront. It questioned the truth of systematic inequality, science, facts, climate change, right to healthcare, woman’s right to choose, equal pay, equal rights….to name a few. We mourned because so many things that we hold dear, so many things we believe to be inalienable human rights are now up for question.
On inauguration day, many of my co-workers wore black to show their heartbreak. The shroud of sorrow has hung low on all of us since the election results were announced. As I was sorting through my dresser trying to decide what to wear that morning, I made conscious decision – “I don’t feel like mourning any more,” I whispered to myself. “I feel like fighting!” So I donned my “Pussy Grabs Back” handmade t-shirt, pulled a sweater over the top and headed to work. Throughout the day, as media poured in about the inauguration, I felt calm and resolved. I walked downstairs to my co-workers office and greeted her by lifting my sweater revealing my shirt underneath, she did the same revealing her identical shirt. It was a show of solidarity and a reminder of the fight ahead. And the first step on that fight – the Woman’s March on Washington!
Saturday we woke up at 1am to hop on a bus bound for Washington, D.C. We navigated traffic jammed freeways, overflowing metro stations until we finally made it to the National Mall. There we joined the over 1 million protesters in D.C. (and over 3mil internationally) who had made similarly lengthy journey to do one thing that day, to let Trump and the world know that we will fight! We will fight for equal rights, for a woman’s right to choose, for a woman’s right to NOT be sexually assaulted, for equal pay, for climate change, for Obamacare for immigrants and minorities, for science and facts. We will fight against walls, against hate, against systematic inequality. We will not be ignored, we will fight until the world we live in is the world we want!
It was a peaceful march, protesters were kind and considerate to each other, cheering each other other, acknowledging each others struggle and lending support. We chanted in one voice and marched in unison. It felt unifying, fortifying and I no longer felt alone. Tears came to my eyes for all the outpouring of love I was seeing around me and the feeling of belonging that spread through my heart.
As we made our final turn, marching up the sidewalk beside the White House the Secret Service began closing the roads and shoeing marchers away. “It’s the presidential motorcade” a woman leaning against the fence shouted to the crowd. And as the limousines drove by with their flashing escorts, the crowd let out a resounding “booooo.” It echoed off the National Monument and the cold, stone faces of government buildings and across the White House lawn like a wave. As I paused to catch my breath a peace fell over me. For the first time since the chaos of this election began, I felt heard.
As the event came to the end, all the participants headed for the metro. The subway conductor roused cheers out of the weary crowds by thanking them for participating in the historic day and asking, “Who runs the world?!” And everyone shouted back, “GIRLS!”