Yesterday, my alarm woke me at 6:30 a.m. Usually, weekend mornings are reserved for getting up naturally, sans-alarms (okay, who am I kidding – I wake when my seven-year-old wakes up unless my husband’s home, in which case I sleep as late as possible).
But I woke, because I was marching for the future!
Excited and nervous, I kissed my family goodbye, made sure to say an extra “I love you” (because cray cray people be armed) and headed to the DC metro station to meet my friend Wendy, who read in the same Listen to Your Mother show I did.
Funny that we all finally got around to marching after Trump called for us to do back when Obama was elected.
Sign courtesy of my friend Emily of Em-i-Lis. The other side of it:
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that the realDonald has changed his mind since Tweeting that in 2012.
Full of excitement and anxiety, it wasn’t until the Uber driver and I paused for gigantic crowds entering the station that I told him I was going to the march.
“You’re the third person I’ve taken this morning,” he said. “The Vienna metro has no parking left. My family came to America for freedom. My sister will be there,” he said.
“Where are you from?”
“It’s of no matter,” he said. “You are here. Do this America march.” Of course I cried.
I wish I’d gotten more of his story.
You guys, the metro was busier than I’ve ever seen it. People stood outside handing out free water and Hershey’s Kisses.
Inside, the station was packed, as was each station we passed. Some held signs up to the windows, others waved. The excitement was electric.
Bodies pressed on each of us from all sides. There was nothing left to hang onto but random seats and people. The seat my hand held onto was of a woman and daughter who’d ridden a bus from Memphis, TN all night long to be there. A gay couple chatted with them.
I was worried about where we were supposed to go once we got there, but there was no going anywhere. Simply exiting the metro station was crazy!
The streets were a wall of people. Smiling, laughing, complimenting one another’s signs. Here are some of the signs I managed to capture on film (it’s a slideshow; scroll to see them all):
I am fully aware of the fact that I am a middle-aged white woman who has healthcare, an education, and white privilege (which YES, is a thing). My life has roots that are founded in being white, in having a grandmother born at the turn of the century who went to college.
I have the life I have today because others did not. My family’s ancestors likely had slaves. They most definitely had white privilege.
THIS IS NOT OKAY. It’s not okay that as a kid, NOT going to college would have been a shame on our family when other families struggle to find means for routine dental care. It’s not okay because this is the United States of America and while we say that everybody has the chance to make a living if he or she works hard enough, that’s not actually true.
People living in poverty have very few opportunities to attend college, much less finish high school. People whose families immigrated here recently are met with prejudice and do not have equal opportunities.
Heck, I know that women in the United States have it among the best in the world. We’re allowed to march, after all.
(Funny side-note, we didn’t even march because humans filled the streets of the entire route, and the streets connecting to it.)
We’re allowed to speak our minds, to press charges for rape, and to raise our children in the ways we choose to.
Almost every woman I know has been touched by a man in a way that she’s not okay with. Almost every woman I know who works her ass off doesn’t get paid as much as her male peers.
EVERY working mother that I know dealt with issues she’d never have had to, when it came to maternity leave and pumping or whatever when it came to her job.
I’m embarrassed to say that I dropped a sexual harassment charge against an employer when I was young. I was young, and stupid, and although my face flushed with comments like “your ass looks good in those pants,” after he fired me, I hid. He was rich, and I was scared.
I marched yesterday because each of us matters. I use the word “each” purposefully. “All” is too dismissive.
Each of us has a voice, and each of us matters. And there is nobody among us who should be afraid to go to work one day, the way I was on all the days back before I knew my voice might matter.
I marched because each of our voices matter.
No young college woman should worry about being raped behind a dumpster, and having her rapist get off because he’s a good swimmer.
NO MAN should “grab a woman” in any part of her body without her saying “yes.”
I marched because Black Lives Matter. Sure, all lives matter, but the black lives seem to be the ones getting snuffed out violently and too soon these days.
I marched because a president-elect should have been done after making fun of a disabled reporter. I marched because DeVoss is unqualified, and I do NOT want her deciding anything that has anything to do with my son.
Donald Trump has made fun of a disabled reporter. That should have been the end of him.
AND YET. He goes on with his tweets today whining about the #WomansMarchOnWashington having more attendance than his inauguration did.
I mean DUH, Dumbass. We don’t want your urine on our faces, we don’t want your hands on our bodies, as small as your hands may be, and we don’t want you to ship our brown friends away, or ban those who seek refuge here.
Which, by the way, being a safe place is what the United States of America was built on.
Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
We continue to accept all, Mr. Trump. Perhaps it’s time that you remember the immigrant hands that have helped you to be successful in America. Or, that your wife is one, who most likely wants out right now.
Also? There were men there. Boys there. Gender-neutral people there. They don’t see you as exactly presidential, either.
And, as much as the liars in the alt-right media want people to believe, the attendance was MUCH MORE HUGELY BIGGER than it was for your inauguration. Just take a look at this photo from NBC.
I marched. Or, well, stood.
I was not alone. And you, out there, no matter what, aren’t either.