Monday, January 23, 2017

I was There (Women's March on D.C.)

The night before the march, my dad implored me (like any good dad would) to reconsider going.
"You have kids to think about and come home to."
His well-meaning words gave me pause (and a fair share of knots in my stomach/anxiety).
I shared my thoughts with my husband and quickly crafted an email to my dad (knowing I would have gone off the rails or lost my nerve had I called him). 
Here it is:

I value and deeply respect your insight & advice perhaps more than anybody's. I thought about what you suggested; that I reconsider going to DC tomorrow & I am sticking to my plan.
There are security & safety protocols in place tomorrow. The march is legitimate, has a permit and immense support from the city's law enforcement. I'm confident this will be a peaceful demonstration.
Obviously I'm going to be cautious, but I'm not worried about violence.
I bet most of those rioters likely didn't even exercise their right to vote, nor do they even understand what their purported "cause" is.
This isn't, as you know, just an anti-trump rally. It's a show of solidarity & an uprising; it's a long overdue wake up call to unify, become active, to become aware, and to be heard. Too many of my peers and younger friends are uneducated about basic government. I hope this sparks a movement to learn & be involved.

I feel like the march is a good start and an important example.
To not despair, to literally and metaphorically march pick our heads up no matter what "side" we're on and show ALL of our leaders that we will be heard and we are looking out for the best interest of 
1) the people who have defended our country and still sacrifice their lives for our freedom and safety
2) the health of our ailing planet & its people
3) our kids...our future generations who are watching and listening.
I hope my own kids are a lot more interested, involved, and educated about our system than I ever was. 
That was long. Whoops.
This is not a goofy whirlwind girls day out in DC...I hope you feel better about me going.
There's a calculated risk in just about anything worth doing & I learned that from the best.

Upon hitting "send", I knew I'd sleep better, albeit not much with my alarm set for 3:30am.
Edit: his response the next morning was an enthusiastic "go for it!"
When I arrived in Washington (having traveled with five women I didn't know at all) there was an unmistakable buzz in the air...any anxiety I felt dissipated and gave way to excitement.
And pride.
I did not expect to be so at ease standing shoulder to shoulder with seas of people for hours on end, barely shuffling forward only to step back...and to the side...and forward again and again again.
All. Day. Long.
The organized march component of the March didn't even happen as anticipated because there were far too many of us. 
When one of the six among my little group remarked that she was bummed we couldn't get close enough to see or hear the speakers, all I could say was,
"What an awesome problem to have. Don't you see?? There are too many of us!!"
Shortly after 1pm, when the march was supposed to commence, we found ourselves making our way from the capitol building to the Monument.
Marching on the mall.
In that moment, it really hit me that we were indeed making history.
It's hard to describe what it felt like to be in such a vast crowd.
I never felt unsafe or unsteady or unsure.
In every direction, literally as far as the eye could see, were crowds teeming with women, men, kids, babies in strollers, toddlers on the shoulders of moms and dads, elderly women and men, hipsters, hippies, teens, teachers, people in wheelchairs, people of every color, people worshipping in various faiths, sorority sisters, chic/perfectly-coiffed women, cops, members of the National Guard, people holding witty/clever/smart/lewd/artistic/creative/rough-hewn/carefully made/outrageous signs, people chanting/drumming, people singing, people holding hands, people people people people people...
And yet, all was calm and positive and utterly, completely peaceful.
I left Washington feeling empowered.
Fired up.
I left Washington ready to take action; to organize, learn, do.
I came home far more aware and forever changed.
And, kindly, to the detractors and doubters (I'm related to and friends with some of you):
Don't presume that I am naive or idealistic...try to see this without cynicism or judgement.
And please, don't call us (or our hats) ridiculous.
Thanks for reading.

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