A good friend and I marched in the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, 2017.
I offer some thoughts on why we marched, and on the march itself...
I myself did not march against Trump, nor against the negativity of many for which his election has sadly insinuated approval. Nor did I march against any of you - you who are reading this and supported Trump for your varying reasons, which I know very likely had nothing at all to do with bigotry, racism, sexism, bullying or hatred that has gone on both before and after this election season.
I myself marched for the self-evident truths promised to all Americans - Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Not for some, nor even for a majority, but for every single member of our melting-pot of a nation. I marched in support of the ideal that the first explorers who sailed to this American shore risked their lives in search of over 400 years ago - for freedom, in all its many forms.
Please do not tell me to “get over it”, as if I do not understand how our political systems works, or do not comprehend that yes, the election is over and that one protest cannot effect those results, because I get that, and that is not why I marched. I feel it would be unwise to allow ourselves to believe that hundreds of thousands of people would march only for that goal... Most, like I, did not.
Of course there were some in attendance who marched in anger, or in a futile attempt to change the electoral outcome, or who disrespect the ideals of a peaceful protest as exemplified by people like Martin Luther King, Jr. However, just as you, me, and most others do not wish to be judged by the worst of those with whom we share a commonality, neither should all marchers be judged in kind.
Respect breeds respect, none shall find it elsewhere.
The vast majority of Saturday’s participants marched in order to send one or all of the following messages of support to those we know, and to those we have not had the honor of yet meeting:
- If your God is known by a different name than ours - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If your skin is a different shade or color than ours - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If your true nature has become clear within your heart that you are associated with the letters
L, G, T, or B - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you are a woman who has faced inequality or has felt demeaned simply because of your gender - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you are a young woman who has made (or might one day make) an 18-minute (or less!) mistake in a moment of passionate weakness with a man, WE SUPPORT that you should not be punished, nor forced to sacrifice 18 years of your life to atone for that one moment, simply because you are the half of that mistake who happens to have the uterus.
- If you have been bullied or threatened or attacked by others for any difference within you or about you - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you believe in the sacredness of this home that we all share, called our Earth - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you feel frustration as the denial of respect for science and knowledge grow more popularly accepted - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you have struggled against poverty and were never offered the opportunities others so easily take for granted, or deny having at all - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you have worked hard, but no longer feel that the dream of a better life is within your reach - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you are disheartened that the health and well-being of humans has become a profitable business of greed - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you believe that the lives of human beings are of far greater worth than money - WE SUPPORT YOU.
- If you believe the world can be (and can do) better, WE SUPPORT YOU.
Comments on the march itself:
They'd planned a march down one big street, but the march ended up wall to wall people, 3-4 blocks wide, streets upon streets of people, all marching in one direction. The entire city had been taken over. We walked like 30 blocks from the masses to get food, and there were still protesters walking and smiling everywhere we looked. No violence, no riots, crowds of strangers singing and chanting as one voice, every age from practically-newborn to 80-yrs+, every faith, every color. It was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.
It reminded me of an Ani Difranco lyric - "There's a river of people that runs past my eyes, it's beautiful enough just to watch it go by."
I personally witnessed singing in the subways, singing in the streets.
I watched as 70+ year old women looked at the younger women and men and the youth participating with such tear-inspiring pride that their mission for the rights and equality for all peoples would continue, that their torch, lit decades ago, will be carried forward.
I watched a group of light-skinned teenage boys chanting "Black Lives Matter" in unison with the dark-skinned marchers for whom this chant is far more personal.
I thanked a man offering free water to anyone who needed it.
I smiled at the Hispanic man walking up and down the green playing "We Are the Champions" on a speaker simply to inspire the other marchers.
I talked to mothers with their daughters, as they taught their girls to stand up for their rights as equals to all others.
I took photos of grandmothers marching for their grandchildren, of brothers marching for their little sisters, for mothers marching for their gay child to ensure that they, too, are free to love and be loved in their own way. (For my photos of the march, please click HERE.)
To all my fellow marchers across planet earth (and all those marching with us in spirit) - on that cloudy Saturday, we witnessed and embodied HOPE. We made LOVE a tangible thing, even if only for a few hours.
Please, let none of the negativity you've seen or received regarding the protests ever let you forget the feeling of those crowds, the unity, the joy, the togetherness.
To quote my favorite sign seen all over the DC march - "When they go low, we go high."
Do not stoop to social media banter and arguments. Do not allow yourself to be baited into anger. Live the love and the hope we created yesterday, every day forward.
Lead by example.
We cannot change closed minds. Let those go, and focus on the rest. People who cannot accept dissent want you to lower yourself, so they can then point and say "See? Look at their toxicity!" Instead, rise above.
Rise with me. And let the love and the hope of yesterday grow and blossom, for it will become the change we marched for, and will continue to fight for.
We are the future. We are hope. Start now.
If you disagree with my or anyone else's participation in this march (as is my democratic freedom), or any future march, or if you disagree with any of the above reasons for feeling the need to march, then perhaps you are the one who needs to “get over it” and simply move on past this blog…
For again I say, respect breeds respect, none shall find it elsewhere.
We are your sisters,
and your neighbors.
Together, we marched, and will continue to march. Not against, but FOR - for all those in our human family, for our planet, for our future, for freedom, for LOVE. March with us.
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