I attended the biggest protest in recent American history on Saturday. I got up, got dressed, and drove over to a park with my friend. We parked a few blocks from the event and started walking down the hill, and slowly but surely people started to join us. I imagined from the sky that it looked similar to streams joining together to make a river. Soon we were engulfed in people with witty signs, pink hats, and chatter of Trump not really being their president. One man even mentioned that Republicans didn’t accept Obama as their president so they don’t have to accept Trump as theirs. Sound logic in my opinion, though unproductive regardless. We soon found the crowd, and then heard the National Anthem being belted from an undisclosed location. Speakers were making sure the noise was reverberated throughout the park as a helicopter circled and police stood on the outskirts of the crowd.
We moved further into the crowd once the mayor gave his small speech. The farther we ventured in, the more I began to understand just how many people feared for their future. This march wasn’t just about women and feminism, it was about disabilities and pre-existing conditions, LGBTQ+ people and their rights as well as refugees in our country. For the first time in my life, I was completely immersed in the most harmless extremism I have ever been a part of. Signs advocating to simply be nice, to calling Trump out on his many ill-phrased comments, all showed me the spectrum of feminism.
The crowd never got that rambunctious; in fact, most of the time people were advocating that we all look around and acknowledge that we are not alone. There are people during this presidency who are going to fight for their right to exist and function as they are. There are people who want to change this world and they just need support. The ability to support is where I have found the most optimism in our society.
The joy of democracy is that there is always a way to change what will happen. It's about staying knowledgeable in regards to the going-ons in this country, even when it is not election season. It is about making sure to never take one news station too seriously, because they all cater to different demographics. The way to be optimistic in this country now is to continue to hope for a better tomorrow and work for a better tomorrow. Trump started his presidency with an entire gender protesting him to speak out about criminal justice reform, educational reform, gender justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrants rights, reproductive rights, economic justice, disability rights and more.
As I moved around the crowd at the park in downtown Kansa City and listened to speakers who were truly overwhelmed by the outcome, I couldn’t help but think of a quote my sorority has been saying to me for years: “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring." The quote is attributed to Catherine of Sienna. So here we are, week 1 of 208 and there is already so much to be done. The Women’s March was the tip of the iceberg, because it was just supposed to ignite the fire. I want to stay involved and optimistic for the world around us.