On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I had the incredible opportunity of attending the Women’s March on Washington. I was joined by my mom, my aunt, and over half a million other amazing people (and even some dogs!)
At 4AM my mom and I drove to Manhattan to meet our bus at Judson Memorial Church (insert link). Judson is a diverse, progressive congregation, and I feel so blessed to have been able to meet some of it’s members! At 6AM our bus started rolling, and we knew we were on our way to make history! As our trip progressed, we started to listen to the inspirational livestream of influential minds like Gloria Steinem and Michael Moore and began to feel the power of what we were going to be taking part in.
About 5 hours later, we arrived in DC. We all gathered our handmade signs, pussyhats, and our determined hearts and started walking our way to the march start point. As we walked through the streets of DC, we saw homes with lawn signs spreading the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr, with residents poking their heads out their windows and thanking us for coming to their beautiful city. I felt incredibly welcome, and I knew that this was exactly where I needed to be.
As we came upon the Capitol Building and started to see more and more fellow protesters, I felt fired up and ready to march. As my mom, aunt, her friends, and I posed for group photos with our signs, random marchers stopped to take pictures of us as well. At first I thought this was a little weird, but then I remembered, we are making HISTORY! I saw the American flag flying in the wind, and I felt a responsibility to make my voice heard and help make my country a safe, welcoming place for all people, regardless of gender, orientation, ethnicity, creed, or any other factor.
We continued walking and made it as close as we could to the march start point. We gathered near some women who were standing on large stones and chanting “Tell me what democracy looks like!” and we would respond “This is what democracy looks like!” We remained at a standstill for about 20 minutes, and at one point I climbed up on one of the large stones and stood on it, surveying the enormous crowd and just feeling amazed. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, non binary individuals, families, children, and even pets were all gathered here and around the world with a common goal – to make our voices heard, refuse to be silenced, and fight to protect our valuable rights.
It was determined that the streets were way too full to continue on the planned march route, so everyone just started marching wherever there was space. There were mothers with babies, fathers holding hands with their little girls, old women with walkers, and even a little boy standing up on a tall rock holding a sign that said “No Grabbing.”
Everyone was caring for each other and making sure that no one got left behind. The energy and fire of every person of the crowd was extremely powerful. We stood together as one and made our presence known. The beautiful souls of these individuals all shone brightly and created an energy that made us all want to keep going, even though we were exhausted and just needed to take a break.
- I refuse to allow people to take away women’s rights (and by the way, just because I am pro-choice does NOT mean I’m pro-abortion. I support the right for a woman to be able to make that very personal, difficult choice on her own because it is not at all up to me to tell her what she can and can’t do with her body.)
- I refuse to respect a leader who brags about sexual assault.
- I refuse to stand for systemic racism and targeted violence.
- I refuse to let individuals of any gender or orientation be bullied or discriminated against simply for being exactly who they are.
- I refuse to shut up and keep my opinion to myself, and I am not afraid to call myself a feminist even though some people think it is a dirty word.
- I refuse to stand for allowing healthcare to be taken away from anyone, especially for those who need it most.
- I refuse to censor myself because the president thinks that any media criticizing him is “fake news” while he is sharing “alternative facts” (aka lies) that claim his inauguration was the most widely attended in history (newflash, it wasn’t.)
- I refuse to stand for cabinet members who have no knowledge about the fields they will heading.
However, I will always stand for love, kindness, tolerance, and acceptance. I will stand up for those who can’t, and I will use my privilege to make my mark in this world. This march is just the beginning of a movement that will make our country a much more positive, loving place where ALL people can live without fear of their rights being taken away and without being afraid to just exist as who they are.
I’m incredibly grateful to have been part of this historic day, and I refuse to back down for anything or anyone.
Thank you for reading!
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