I have a difficult time making decisions of any kind, but when I first heard about the Women's March on Washington, I didn't hesitate to say yes. It felt absolutely right. To say I had some pent-up energy around the election is an understatement, so having a focus to move towards, even temporarily, was helpful. The girls were in complete agreement.
My indecision revolved around the how. Drive with friends? Take the over-night bus? Stay outside of DC and ride the train? It was stepping enough out of my comfort zone - into the political arena, with hundreds of thousands of strangers with their own opinions and agendas and raging feelings - that I wanted to get in and get out as quickly and simply as possible, so the over-night bus it was. From step one I was aware that this was a privilege to be so thankful for, having the time to go and the money to spend on the bus.
Dan did his part for the cause, driving us to the bus at 1:00 in the morning and picking us up again at 2:30 the next morning. Gleep! It was an uneventful, sleepy ride, and we arrived at 8 Saturday morning.
|We were so happy just walking to the metro!|
Ani's highlight of the day was being stuck in the metro, where we disembarked into a wall-to-wall sea of people heading to the march. It was still a pretty sleepy bunch, but once in a while a big "Whooo!!!" would erupt and undulate through the crowd, waking us up with the shivers!
We quickly started to realize how many people were there and how far we were going to have to be from the main rally. We found ourselves a jumbo-tron and stood watching the opening speakers with a few thousand of our closest friends...
|Eliza and I got all swoony over Gloria, who declared the gathering|
"the upside of the downside"
To be honest, managing the day - finding bathrooms and waiting for bathrooms, having to pee while pressed up against people for hours - was a challenge, but the spirits of everyone around us were so high! There wasn't anything that could dampen the mood. Even the poor security guy assigned to bathroom duty was polite, kind and friendly! So many issues were represented: Black Lives Matter, immigration, LGBTQ rights, No Wall, No DAPL, women's reproductive rights, gun laws...it was a feast for the eyes and for our burgeoning activist selves the day was full of positive action, raised voices and filled hearts.
Before we left, I'd asked the girls why they felt it was important to march. Eliza said she felt like we were showing up for people who didn't have the option to be there; that this president has made a lot of young women feel like they don't matter, that their voices are not as important, and she wanted to show up to have a voice. Ani told me she was thinking about friends of ours in the community who are Muslim and are here from Saudi Arabia in a tenuous visa situation, following the deportation of the family member who brought them here. She worries for them and knows they are scared to speak up for fear of drawing attention to their situation.
We returned tired but inspired, ready to move forward to the real work of becoming informed, speaking up and showing up, again and again and again.