I’ve been lax about blogging lately for a multitude of reasons: David went back to the boat to get some jobs done that I can’t be around for (glue and varnish fumes make me sick). I’ve been busy sorting through our things stored here in Kansas in preparation of our next adventure, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. And politics has completely consumed me, as it has millions of other Americans, in what clearly is a new chapter in our country’s history.
It started three weeks ago when I boarded a bus bound for Washington D.C. to take part in the Women’s March on Washington with 52 other marchers from my hometown of Wichita, Kansas. If you’re not familiar with the geography of the United States, Wichita is smack dab in the middle. It’s the heartland. The Bible belt. And just about as conservative as they come.
I wouldn’t say we were a very diverse group of people and it’d be reasonable to assume that most of us grew up in a similar way. But we all had different reasons for marching, as did the millions of others who took to the streets that day: Women’s rights. Civil rights. LGBTQ rights. Native rights. Environmental rights. Religious rights. Criminal justice reform. Immigration reform. Defense of the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare). Driving home the point that feminism today is intersectional.
I’m still trying to process the experience and can’t begin to explain how it felt to be there, surrounded by an ocean of humanity dressed in pink chanting “this is what democracy looks like” and singing “We Shall Overcome”. It was overwhelming. And truly one of the most important moments of my life. I’m reluctant to use the word “celebration” to describe an event with such serious concerns and goals, but it truly was a celebration of love for our fellow (wo)man and the world we inhabit.
The day wasn’t without its difficulties. The crowd was so large that it was impossible to get anywhere near the stage to hear the speakers . . . or out. Marchers had filled the entire route and there was a short period of time when we heard the event had been cancelled due to the hundreds of thousands of people that had showed up. While we waited to learn our fate, news of sister marches around the world dribbled in and energized the crowd even more: Larger than expected turnouts in Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Antarctica. We were making history.
Soon a chant from the stage area reached us, declaring it was time: “march on third, march on third”. We slowly made our way north along 3rd Street to Constitution, ending up on Pennsylvania Avenue. Meanwhile, thousands of other marchers filled the surrounding streets, converging at major intersections as we all made our way to the White House.
Pennsylvania Avenue was lined with bleachers that had been set up for the Inaugural Parade. For Trump, they were nearly empty. But on Saturday, supporters of the Women’s March on Washington all but filled the stands and cheered everybody on. Hands were raised high in the air in a sign of power as the crowd roared. A call from the stands demanded “tell me what democracy looks like” and we responded as loudly as we could with “this is what democracy looks like”, sending goosebumps throughout my body. Just thinking about it does the same. It was an amazing, amazing day.
The days following the march have been a blur of activity. The man who moved into the Oval Office has made sure of this. And the protests continue – at airports, at the homes and offices of Congressmen, at the Super Bowl, at Trump’s properties. Those who aren’t able to show up in person, like me, have been jamming the phone lines to their representative in Congress to voice their concerns and to say no to Trump’s agenda. I’m sure the same would be said about the White House phones if that line was still open to the public, but it’s not – one of the many ways this administration has worked to silence its opposition. The good news is it isn’t working.
Clearly this is just the beginning and I’m sure many of the battles that are fought will be lost. Some already have been. Betsy DeVos, someone who proved herself to be wholly unqualified for the position of Secretary of Education now holds the cabinet position. Jeff Sessions, a man with a long record of civil rights abuses, is now the Attorney General. And the Dakota Access pipeline has restarted construction. But, win or lose, they’re battles worth fighting and history will judge those of us who stood up kindly because we’re on the right side of it, of this fact I’m sure.
What word sums up your week? Join the conversation below in the comments section or on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.