My dear friend Jane and I went to the Women’s March on Washington last month – and while my thoughts may change as I get further away from the event I wanted to capture some of my first reflections.
Sitting in my seat on our Jet Blue flight I started to notice the number of women getting on the flight. Only a few men and the rest of the plane filled with women – the flight attendant asked if there was anyone on the flight going to the march and the plane erupted in cheers, I started to get the inkling that something big was happening.
Then at the airport, it was mostly filled with women in pink “pussy” hats getting baggage – waiting for the shuttle – women from all over. On the very late shuttle that we took to our hotel, we sat next to a bubbly woman from Minnesota. She had flown from St. Paul to Milwaukee to Boston to DC just to get the best price on her ticket. She told us that she had a disabled son – and was marching in part for education. Among all the “Dick Tracy Villains” that Trump has nominated Betsy Devos was mentioned by numerous women that weekend as unacceptable. Sadly, as I post this, she has just been confirmed by the Senate.
Jane and I got up early and out the door for the shuttle to the Metro on Saturday. In the lobby, we met some women from Seattle. They had a bag of pink hats – and I was about to ask if they were selling them when Kim (from Seattle) told me that they had been knit by women in the community who couldn’t go to DC but asked that they be given out to folks who needed them. The hat that she gave me had a note saying that the knitter of the hat’s name was Mary. That was the first time I was moved to tears that day (not the last).
We went to join the rally promptly losing all the Emily’s List people. We found our spot to listen/watch the rally pinned against a food truck relatively close to the stage. It’s hard to describe the number of people there – think of the most crowded club or concert you have ever been in and then think of that all over most of downtown DC. The amazing thing was that unlike a club or concert – people were good, kind and cared for each other. Even packed like sardines there was no pushing or craziness.
The speakers at the rally were amazing – getting to hear and see Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis were lifetime events. The rally went on too long – and by 2:30 people were READY to March. So march we did – I’m not sure at all how long – being in a constant sea of people chanting is a mesmerizing and wonderful thing.
There were many march chants including:
“He’s orange; He’s gross, He lost the popular vote!” “We need a leader – not a creepy tweeter.”
And the best one: “Hands too small…Can’t build a wall!”
Here are some of the original and pointed signs we saw.
I was told later that the route had been changed and that the march itself was canceled because there were so many people – but we march down past the mall – all the way down Pennsylvania Ave.
One of the most memorable parts of the march was a group of young women of color. They were all about my son’s age – all of them wearing headscarves and carrying a banner across the road. At one point they stopped and started the chant “Show us what Democracy looks like” and the rest of us yelled back “This is what Democracy looks like” and on we went for about three minutes. That moment was incredible and a gift of the spirit to see these beautiful young women not just participating but engaging all of us in their profound message.
Jane and I sat for a while on the bleachers that were conveniently still set up from the inauguration the day before. We then joined the march again – but peeled off as it was ending to find the metro. Tired we headed back on a long metro trip to College Park but sat next to women from Florida who shared this picture of the White House gates.
What happens from here we do not know – what I can say is that each of us can do one small or big thing – one action every week. We don’t do it all by ourselves – we are stronger together!! As Mich McConnell just said about my Senator, “…nevertheless she persisted.” We need to persist in standing up and persist!
My action this week is to write to my Senators expressing my priority concerns (because I’m concerned about everything). This is part of the Women’s March 10 actions in 100 days campaign. 100 Days Actions I tried for three – but boiled down all my issues to four: * Healthcare for everyone – including birth control and abortion, *Humane treatment (laws/policies) of immigrants/refugees, *Addressing inequity/structural racism, and *Environmental issues/the health of our water/air/food.
I tried for three issues– but boiled down all my issues to four: * Healthcare for everyone – including birth control and abortion, *Humane treatment (laws/policies) of immigrants/refugees, *Addressing inequity/structural racism, and *Environmental issues/the health of our water/air/food. While it may be that we are playing defense for some time now – I want to keep these key things in front of me!