7 a.m.: Like an unpeeled, tin can of blushing sardines, train cars are overloaded with women in pink hats. Standing shoulder to shoulder, pink ear to pink ear, we ride into Washington D.C to march.
“The Washington, D.C., metro system saw its second-busiest day ever Saturday when hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the Women’s March”. –The Huffington Post
8 a.m.: We don’t need a map to find the march. We follow the pink hats. We trail the bobbing signs with statements about “The Resistance” and “Nasty Women”. The poster under my arm reads, “Not my president.”
“The National Mall has flooded with pink, as demonstrators descend on the nation’s capital Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington.” –NPR
9:50 a.m.: Standing next to me are two lesbian women who ask where others are from. State names sound left and right: Maine, Georgia, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, New York, Florida! “And where are you from?” my gay stepbrother asks. The lesbian women reply. They are from Indiana. A moment of solidarity is shared between them and my stepbrother, noting that the previous Indiana governor is now Vice President Pence, a man who once believed that electroshock therapy could “shock the gay away”.
“…[T]he first major post-Inauguration protest march around women, who are almost fifty-one per cent of the American population, who have been maligned and attacked by the new President, and who make up a group within which every other vulnerable population exists.” –The New Yorker
10 a.m.: Cheering vibrates the crowd— massive sound waves roll through an ocean of pink. The gathering’s roar begins at Lincoln Memorial and travels over every avenue in Downtown D.C. The march won’t begin until 3 p.m., yet the route is entirely filled with protestors.“Turnout in the capital was so heavy that the designated march route alongside the National Mall was impassable.” –ABC News
2 p.m.: Hundreds of fists raise in silent unification while Gloria Steinem, the famed women’s activist, exclaims that she’s met the people. To Trump she says, “You are not them. We are the people.” Among Steinem are other inspiring speakers: African American mothers of children shot by police, rape and abuse survivors, transgender leaders, Michael Moore, America Ferrera, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, Cecile Richards, and many others with righteous messages.
Van Jones speaks to the Trump voters.
“Real conservatives love the constitution. Real conservatives believe in a clean government…This movement has the opportunity to stand up for the underdogs in the red states and the blue states…to stand up for the Muslims and the dreamers and the Black votes, but also to stand up for the coal miners who will be thrown under the bus by Donald Trump.”
This march is bigger than progressive agendas. This movement is for women and men who want their loved ones, their fellow citizens, and their country to be safe from tyrannical forces.
Ashley Judd recites a poem by 19-year-old Nina Donovan.
“I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege…”
Tears stream over protestors’ cheeks. Goosebumps crawl up my arms as Judd cries, “My eyes are too busy praying to my feet, hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact half my life. I have been zipping up my smile, hoping you don’t think I want to unzip your jeans.”
Memories of uncomfortable subway rides plague my mind, and sadness swells internally with the reminder that the man in the Oval Office represents all behavior that has ever oppressed me and my sisters. Then the masses cheer. They cheer so loud. I am not alone. We are not alone. We stand together, cheering in opposition to oppression.
“Hundreds of thousands of protesters watched speakers and performers’ passionate pleas, speeches and song on Saturday— so many speakers, in fact, that the march was delayed by nearly two hours.” –CBS News
3 p.m.: We march. Well, we shuffle. Protestors flood the route to the point of almost-stagnant movement. Peaceful, purposeful chanting ensues. “No human is illegal.”…“We don’t want your tiny hands anywhere near our underpants.” (A line popularized in Fiona Apple’s anti-Trump song.)…“Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like.”…“Black lives matter.”…“We want a leader. Not a creepy tweeter.”…“Say it loud, say it clear: Refugees are welcome here.” The chants pair kindly with politeness and consideration for every marcher.
“…[T]he wind grew further and threatened our healthcare, civil rights, protection from pollution, contraception and abortion, our climate, disability rights, LGBTQIA freedoms, decency and compassion for others.” –The Huffington Post
7 p.m.: On any other day, going ten hours without food would hurt the gut, and constant standing (and marching) would yield achy feet. Today, though, physical demands have been outweighed by emotional vigor. Today, we’ve shown our alliance to those whose rights are threatened by the man sitting in our White House.
We’ve protested the chopping block where basic rights sadly rest— the right to affordable healthcare, the right to body autonomy, the right to love, the right for immigrant families to remain united, the right of refuge for those in unlivable places, the right to a clean planet, the right of free speech, the right to live accordingly to the American constitution. Today, we’ve marched in the name of the progress America has made and the progress we will push forward. Forever forward, we march.
“The marches were the kickoff for what their leaders hope will be a sustained campaign of protest in a polarized nation, riven by an election that raised unsettling questions about American values, out-of-touch elites and barriers to women’s ambitions.” –The New York Times
For more information, please visit the official website of the Women’s March: https://www.womensmarch.com/100/
How will you go down in history? It’s easy to take action everyday! Make this website your virtual home base: www.100daysofresistance.org/
Small actions are powerful, and should be a part of your daily routine. While sipping your morning coffee, dial 202-225-3121, and ask to speak with your congressperson. If you don’t know whom that is, just give the operator your zip code. Ask for their direct line, and leave a message about the kind of American society you want them to fight for. They are your public servants, and democracy is in your hands. Use it.
**Disclaimer: contributing posts do not in any way reflect the political views of GainesvilleScene.