Yes. I marched in DC the day after the Inauguration. It was an event that will be forever in my heart. But what struck me most about the day, was the ripples around it. Waiting to board the flight at O’Hare, I was aware of all the women who were flying to Washington to participate. One young woman and I shared a few words and she started to tear up. She is a grad student.
“I’m sorry.” She wipes away a tear.
“No. I get it. I’ve had some really dark days. It’s been tough.
But here we are! Are you going alone?”
“My husband is flying in later tonight.”
Surrounded by energized women, many in pink pussy hats, it is a feeling of great pride and hope. We fill the aircraft to capacity. As a former flight attendant, I have never seen a flight with this percentage of women. There is a smattering of men. Some along for the march, others just quietly wishing to get to their destination.
Everyone is upbeat. People are bonding with strangers. My seatmate and I share stories. She is a working mother. She has a daughter. And SHE is loving being alone for the first time since her daughter was born, give or take. She has the power to get up early, proceed to the stage and get premium access without worrying about or accommodating friends who backed out. I get that.
Upon landing, the flight attendant makes a P.A.
“Thanks to all the Nasty Women who flew American today.”
On the way to the March with my friends, following the river of pink knit hats, with one million plus women making their way to the rally, my young grad student sees me with delight.
“OMG! Guys! This is the grad student I was telling you about!”
“You told them about me?”
We hug. She introduces me to her husband.
“What are the ODDS of running into each other again?”
All smiles. We say goodbye. I’m afraid of getting separated from my friends.
Walking towards the rally there are metro buses and rally buses along the way. Honks and screams fill the air. It is joyous.
We walk until we can walk no farther. That’s how it works. You just keep going until space is filled up.
We passed some pro-lifers with signs. They are kept behind a chain link fence.
“There they are.” We look and move on. No acknowledgement. They mean nothing. They cannot rain on this moment.
We stop to take pictures with a sign a woman is holding up. It has a cut out for your face with the words, “The Face of Feminism.” Lots of people are taking advantage of it.
“I feel like I should pay you.” As I’m sticking my head in the hole.
“Your smile is all I need.”
THAT. THAT is what this march is about. Everyone participating is in it together. Everyone is in it for each other. Everyone wants every man, woman and child to succeed. In America. And around the world.
The day is long. The crowds are tight. We were unable to hear the speakers but we all patiently wait the hours it takes for them to finish. Then word comes through the crowd via a Washington Post tweet…the march is cancelled. We filled the entire route. Holy wow.
With a mix of pride and disappointment people start moving. Then it happens. The March. Organically because people had to leave the rally.
Chants keep repeating…
“Tell me what democracy looks like?”
“THIS is what democracy looks like!”
And many more. You don’t even need to shout. Enough voices respond to make it clear what the message is.
Reading all the signs is a highlight of the day. We marvel at the meaning and creativity that oppression brings out.
For me, it’s easy. I’m retired. I can afford to be here. What slays me are all the working women, young mothers, families, men and children who make the supreme effort to be here. They are my heroes. I march for them.
One story told, is a woman in a car near the march yells, “You wouldn’t be here if you all worked. Get a job!”
One woman walks past her open window…”Bitch. It’s Saturday.”
Someone chants behind us…”Gays hate Trump!”
I respond, “We ALL hate Trump!”
And those are the ugliest stories I have to share.
At the end of the day, we put our tired feet up and watch the news. We were in our bubble during the march. We had no idea of how widespread the turnout was. To see other countries stepping up is stunning. Our room alone has a Californian, Washington State citizen, an Illinoisan, and a young man from New York City. We couldn’t get enough of reports on all the cities huge turnouts. I relish knowing my sister marched in Los Angeles. Watching world news and we are a part of the story. All those marches. Millions of people. All pulled off without a hitch. It. Is. Magnificent.
At the end of the night, I make it a point to lay my sign amongst all the others being displayed by a local monument. I did it with a solemn pride that makes me tear up as I write this.
DC is quiet. Anyone out walking is there for the same reason. Many still sport their pink hats. We all smile at each other. We all feel it. Nothing but blind love, coupled with “We did it.” Knowing full well, it is just the beginning.
Glory be to Women.