Here’s what I know to be true after yesterday’s Women’s March in DC: We are the country I thought we were.
We are diverse, we care about each other and our future, and we are kind.
We are afraid, but we will rise to the challenge to fight for those issues we deeply care about—women’s issues, inclusivity over isolationism, the future of the country and planet we’re leaving for our children, and so much more.
We are diverse. We are women and men; we are straight, gay, lesbian, trans, and any expression of gender we want to be; we are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and any expression of religion or non-religion we want to be.
These are a few beautiful moments that will stay with me from yesterday:
There was a dark-haired, dark-skinned woman wearing jeans and a white jacket. She had with her four pre-teen kids and she held a sign that said THIS IS WHAT A MUSLIM FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE. It was obvious how proud her kids were, how happy they were to be there as people walked by and nodded, gave her high-fives, clapped her on the back. America is for this woman and her children.
There was a group of four trans men marching with no shirts, proudly showing the scars of their breast-removal surgery. They fist-pumped as some people gaped and others cheered. America is for those men.
In the middle of a throng of people so massive and crushing, before police finally opened the barricades to the National Mall, a woman went in to labor. The crowd was thick, chest-to-chest, barely room to squeeze a foot forward in either direction. But as she came through, the people parted. Voices rose and people cheered and others comforted her. America is for this baby, who received one of the most beautiful initiations into this life I can imagination.
There was an African American family—grandparents, their two grown daughters, and two grandchildren, maybe seven and nine. We stood along 17th Street NW together waiting to enter the march. I was passing out buttons that said WOMEN’S VOICES MATTER, WOMEN’S CHOICES MATTER. As I handed buttons to his granddaughter and daughter, the elderly man stretched out his gloved hand. I placed a button in it and said, “I hope you’ll wear it with pride,” and his wife looked at me and said, “He will. He’s been here before.” When I met the old man’s eyes, I felt as if he were bringing the spirit and legacy of whatever previous protests he’d witnessed—perhaps The Great March or The Million Man March—to this march for his daughters and granddaughters. America is for this family.
I went with a group of authors from She Writes Press, and with my wife. I wanted to be there for women everywhere, because I will fight for women’s voices to be heard, and for the rights we stand to lose. I will be one of the many vocal dissidents of this administration and its destructive policies against a people, a country, and a planet I love. But I needed to be there for my family—for my wife, for our rights, for our sons. For our safety and legitimacy, and for our six-year-old’s education and all three boys’ futures. To be one of the hundreds of thousands of bodies that contributed to the crush of people coming to Washington to say, simply: What’s happening here is not okay with me. Those of us who showed up in cities big and small around the world yesterday—640 demonstrations in the States alone—were together as one.
Globally, we will be vigilant.
Here in America, we will not stand idly by as our rights and freedoms are stripped away from us. Here in American, will not be fooled by a slogan that professes to Make America Great Again when it’s really about Making White Men First Again.
We will not.
I am grateful beyond words to have witnessed what I did yesterday. It gave me the renewed faith I needed. We are not screwed, as I’ve pessimistically been prone to thinking in the past few months. We just have a lot of work ahead of us. And yesterday proved to me just how well equipped We, the People, are to get done what needs to be done.