The Women’s March on January 21 in D.C. was awesome. The numbers swelled until the police shut down streets within a half-mile of the planned route. We overflowed into all the major thoroughfares. Speakers and entertainers inspired the throngs far longer than planned. We heard from representatives of every creed and color. The stage included celebrities (including Michael Moore, Madonna, Alicia Key, Ashley Judd, and Scarlett Johanssen), organizers, leaders (e.g., Cory Booker and the President of Planned Parenthood), and the mothers of black sons killed in police encounters.
We stood and stood and walked and walked. Oh my knees! The mood was exuberant. From my first Metro station at 8:00 am until my last Metro stop at 6:00 pm, there were crowds like I’ve never seen. All day long, spontaneous shouts rang out. The tone was peaceful, kind, respectful and inclusive – oh, and a bit irreverent (Madonna used the F-bomb twice). Marchers thanked security and Metro personnel – and all of them I saw smiled in support of the cause.
The signs and chants ranged from profound to profane. My favorites: “This is what a feminist looks like”; “This is what democracy looks like;” “No human is illegal;” “Science is real;” “Keep your laws off my body;” “Why do we still have to protest this [stuff]?” — and “Love trumps hate.”
While D.C. hosted the “mother march,” groups gathered in 370 cities and six continents. The march in my own Denver had over 100,000! Women everywhere donned pink “pussy hats” to make a point that ours are not up for grabs. But the main focus was not on protesting one callous remark. It was on key substantive human issues – e.g., reproductive freedom, rights of the GLBTQ community, clean water and air, quality education for all. The core themes were “love trumps hate” and “we go high.”
Skeptics had focused on racial and other divisions. Divisions were not visible. People (men and women) were there for all kinds of reasons. Some came to protest the misogynistic words of the new President. Most were there for a higher and more powerful purpose –to demonstrate that women, and men who support women, will not allow a retreat from the progress of the last five or six decades. I, for one, came away with a commitment to be vigilant against the erosion of that progress. And most declared that we must address our issues with love and a sense of abundance rather than with fear, hate, and scarcity. I, for one, commit to taking and supporting actions based on vision and hope rather than on hate and fear.
I commit to speak up and take action consistent with my vision – a world that values women and men equally.
Did you march? What was your experience? How will you take action to stand for women and their broad, broad issues?