Saturday, January 21, 2017, will forever be on my mind as one of the greatest events I have ever experienced.
I was one of hundreds of thousands joining my fellow feminists and activists in the Women’s March on Washington. Surrounded by a sea of Louise Belcher-esque pink-eared hats, standing alongside a variety of human beings who are also fed up and angry over the sad future of our country.
The energy of unity buzzed through my body, and I was overwhelmed with emotion.
I am so proud of those around the world who joined in on our fight against hate and social injustice.
I plan to go further in depth with my experiences over the weekend in Washington, D.C. in a later post. But, for now, I feel that I need to thank many of the different attendees of the March I will never forget.
These incredible human beings had an idea, put the idea out into the world, started organizing and made history. The co-chairs and members of the national committee of the Women’s March on Washington come from such a diverse background and decided to use their diversity as one powerful entity to create one of the biggest movements to happen, ever. They felt pissed off, disrespected, attacked and fed up, along with so many of the rest of us against our now President of the United States.
This amazing organization empowered and inspired millions from all seven continents to stand up and show that Donald Trump is not a leader we believe in. Because of the Women’s March organizers we have begun to fight back, peacefully, and the world is listening; the world is with us.
Thank you so much to these powerful humans.
The Attendees (Nationally and Globally)
Without those who showed up to the marches being held around the United States and around the entire world, change would not be happening. Whether Trump acknowledges us or not we are using our voice as a unified entity and we are being heard.
As one, we the people have started the fight against social issues we are no longer going to stand by and accept. We refuse to allow hate, fear, disrespect and violation of our human rights be the norm in this country.
Not only did we show up, we made sure we were heard by using the power of unity in a peaceful demonstration. Being in Washington, D.C. during the March, I did not see violence and hateful rage. I saw the kind of rage that ignites inside of a person who is passionate about making a difference and inspiring change. That’s the kind of rage we need more of. We can be angry and upset without throwing bricks at police officers and breaking business windows.
I am so overwhelmed and pleased with the way we made ourselves known. I love every one of you “nasty” feminists of all genders.
I know that it could seem odd to thank men for a march that was primarily focused on women’s rights, but this March was much more than that. We were marching against a misogynist, hateful, sexual predator President and focused on a variety of issues we have with him.
Typically, when I speak to people about feminism the response is mixed. When I bring the topic up around men, the usual response is eye rolling or mansplaining.
However, the men attending the March in D.C. were noticeably identifying as feminists. I’m not sure I can even explain how fantastic it was to be marching alongside a man I did not know, who began chanting, “your body, your choice!” with a booming response from surrounding women of, “my body, my choice!”
I saw fathers and grandfathers holding signs supporting the movement in honor of their wives, mothers, daughters and grand daughters. I saw men holding signs proclaiming, “This is what a feminist looks like”. I did not feel threatened by the presence of so many men (not that I usually do, but sadly it is always a fear in the back of my mind).
Feminism is becoming more of a social issue than a divided man vs. woman issue that so many people have misinterpreted in the past. So, thank you guys for coming out and supporting everyone on the gender spectrum.
Also, a special shout out to Dom who not only supported my desire to drive five plus hours to D.C. with a group of 12 other women but also commended and encouraged me on actively fighting for what I believe in.
You da’ best.
The Police Officers, Medical Personnel, The National Guard and other security providers
I understand the anger and upset surrounding the police brutality we have become so accustomed to over the years. I understand the emotions that come from watching the deaths of people of color at the hand of police officers who caused so much pain for the families of these people. I am not saying to get over it and respect the law enforcement no matter what because they are not always right.
However, I do ask that we don’t assume all law enforcement is evil. I am thanking the police officers and other security enforcers who were working at this event and who I personally encountered throughout the day.
When walking by officers they remained alert but also smiled and nodded toward those who acknowledged them. I passed a few National Guard members with their uniforms and bulletproof vests on. Each one of these servicemen and women smiled while passersby thanked them for their service and shook their hands. The female member of the Guard that I encountered was smiling, clapping and saying, “Thank you all so much! This is amazing!”
When our group first arrived at the Capitol, an EMS spotter approached us. She was explaining the entrances and pointing us in the right direction. Someone from our crew asked her if she was nervous, considering the dangerous events that unfolded the previous day. The EMS worker responded excitedly, “Are you kidding? An estimated 280,000 women are going to be here… that’s 280,000 new friends!”
She was smiling the widest smile despite the fact that the sun was just barely up.
I never once encountered hostility from the law enforcement and authority figures. Maybe this is not the case for others, but it felt that the authority was on our side on this one.
Thank you for being there, rooting us on, while putting your safety aside for our movement.
So many speakers attended this event to empower their supporters. Celebrities (Gloria Steinem, Ashley Judd, Scarlet Johansson, Michael Moore, America Ferrera), activists (Cecile Richards, Amanda Nguyen, Judith LeBlanc, Rhea Suh), and musical performers (Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, The Indigo Girls, Maxwell) kept the crowd energized through their support and words for over 4 hours.
To see so many influential people in one place, speaking in solidarity was moving, to say the least. The list of activists and artists is much longer than those I mentioned, but I was listening to every one of you, just as you were listening to all of us.
Thank you for using your influence to help keep this movement alive.
The Young Protesters
I saw protestors of all ages participating in Washington. Infants, toddlers, children, teens, twentysomethings and beyond were all in attendance all around the world.
My own group ranged in ages of 19-62 years old. Seeing the younger generations attending with their parents and the college aged groups all passionately chanting for our government to pay attention to our voices was overwhelming to see.
These young activists are going to be growing up one day, and I am almost relieved to see that this fight will continue with us because they will be inspired to stand up for what they believe in. Make fun of Millennials all you want, but the future doesn’t look too bleak when you see children passionate about the same rights as their parents and grand parents.
I also would like to point out that one of the best speeches I heard on Saturday came from a child. 6 year-old Sophie Cruz almost moved me to tears. She is an immigration activist fighting for the rights of immigrants all over the country. Cruz’s words were the epitome of love and unity when speaking about our fellow immigrants in this nation, and also highly contrasted to the hate-speech that spews effortlessly from President Trump’s mouth when he speaks on immigration and wall building.
To the younger generations and Cruz, thank you for keeping me hopeful for our future activists.
We still have so much work to do, and I hope the momentum of Saturday’s global protests lasts. I hope the next four years of Trump’s presidency are the most difficult four years of his life because we are here, we are not remaining silent and complacent and we are pissed off.