January 21, 2017 marked the largest Inaugural protest in history. The Women's Marches spanned the entire world: India, Australia, Mexico, Iran, and South Korea, just to name a few. The marches had the bravest and the most brilliant women. However, I wanted to take the time to address the silent protestors. The protestors who could not go to the Marches, but did their part, and did what they had to do to make an impact. I want to recount a story of someone I had come across while volunteering in the Upper Valley to do so.
I had noticed an elderly lady knitting, and me being the curious person that I am, thought it might’ve been a sweater. I wanted to ask her to make sure and also to make conversation as she waited for someone to pick her up from the center I was volunteering at, so I went up to ask her how her sweater was going and she told me that it was in fact a hat. Here’s the summary of the dialogue between us:
Her: "I don’t want to be offensive."
Me: "No worries at all, I really do want to listen. Please tell me."
Her: "Well are you familiar with the pink hat?"
Me: "No, I'm not quite familiar with them."
Her: "Well are you familiar with the term pussy hat?"
Me: "Not quite, no."
Her: "Well you’re too young to remember all that happened back in my day, but they are going to be used during the women’s rights marches this coming week. They are a protest against the names that we were/are called and how we were/are treated.
During work meetings, I was directly groped on my buttocks and was demeaned and told that “Well you like it, don’t you?” I was alive when it was at its worse and I hate to think that we could start going back to that. We fought against it and will continue to do so.
All it takes is to let one thing slide. It opens the flood gates for everyone to start saying even more and not only that, it starts affecting every other group around us. Minority groups and such. Our president-elect [now president] is who he is but we gotta keep fighting.
I’m knitting this hat for the march and thought I can’t go to the women’s march, my sisters who are 63 and 68 are going. And this is my way of contributing to this fight."
I don't think that I will ever forget the impression this lady made on me. I see her in my mind's eye and she looks weak from whatever she is fighting health wise and through age, and yet there is such a strong force around her. A force of silent yet powerful protest against the wrongs happening right now. And if that isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is. Hold strong everyone. And stay strong. Keep fighting in any way you can, whether it be through taking care of yourself, standing up to whoever is bothering you, or joining the protests to come. Stay inspired, and think of that strong, old lady, who is weary from fighting, but will keep doing so every single day.