I am not someone who shies away from my opinions. I am someone who speaks out when I think there is wrong in the world. I was raised that way. So when the opp arose to take a bus from Peoria Illinois to D.C, my mother and I did what anyone like us would do: we bought bus tickets and we went.
The experience is something that is hard to describe. Because it was more of a feeling. It was more of a moment in time that can't be fully expressed with words alone.
It began on a bus. With 55 other amazing men and women who all wanted the same thing: to let their voices be heard peacefully. A little girl had a sign that particularly struck my eye upon arrival. It said "I am a girl. I am smart. I am strong." Another woman had a sign that said "I've been protesting the same crap for 50 years." I loved the honesty behind that.
Everyone was so kind. It's extraordinary to me how 56 people who live completely different lives can work together and treat each other with such love and respect. I was given two beautiful pins, and a woman even knitted me a "pussy-hat". I felt safe, and I felt respected.
These people were wonderful. They were kind and strong-willed and courageous. They had decided to ride 12 hours on a bus to march and rally for 5 hours, then ride 12 hours home. That is amazing.
We arrived. It was around 6:30 in D.C. and still dark. We all went our separate ways.
Before I knew it, it was time to rally. We arrived an hour early and waited and watched as hundreds of thousands of men, women and children flooded around the rally stage. Before I knew it, it was 10 and America Ferrera was speaking. She spoke. Then more speakers came. Then there were performances, then people started marching. More people took to the rally stage and Madonna even came to give a surprise speech and performance.
Then, we marched. The streets were flooded. What was supposed to be 200,000 women became half a million, and the parade route was so packed that there were separate routes streaming off of the main march down Independence.
Maybe it was the 12 hour bus ride, or the lack of sleep, but the whole thing felt so surreal. To have all of these women (and men) coming together, speaking peacefully for what we believed in. We marched for what seemed like forever. It was incredible. People lined the streets to cheer us on, to lead us in chants and to take pictures and videos of the definitely historic event.
Half a million women. Gathered together. Together we shut D.C. down, and we made our voices heard.
There were zero arrests made. There was no violence and at the end of the day everyone got on their buses, boarded their trains and planes, and went home.
Half a million women. I met 65 of them, but it feels as though we are all a family that cannot be separated, silenced, or intimidated.Thank you, D.C. It was an honor.