I booked my flights to Washington D.C. from London for the Women’s March two weeks after the election. Enough was enough; I had grown tired of the despair and helplessness I felt which was further magnified by the fact that I was so far away from home. And l know this is largely symbolic but I needed to be on American soil in the nation’s capital to stand with others and speak up for our rights. If 80% of success is just by showing up, I was going to do just that.
I had expected the march to be a peaceful one (though judging from the number of texts I got from friends and the Brit not everybody shared the same optimism). What moved me the most was the respect people had for one another and the abundance of creativity used to channel their fears and frustrations, my favorite one being the I Can’t Keep Quiet Anthem. I’ve already shared this account of the day on Instagram right after the march but will reshare it here because it’s the best recap I can offer on what I took away from the experience:
Waves of women, men, children and the elderly moved towards Independence Avenue near the U.S. Capitol as if drawn by a magnet. It was only 10AM but the collective electric energy of the crowd was already in place and permeated throughout the day. The atmosphere was positive and peaceful, the people respectful.
I saw a woman from Michigan serenading a small audience with her tuba, many men donning pink hats and despite the size of the crowd people trying to make space for each other. In parts where the crowd wasn’t as dense I saw it part like the sea when someone in a wheelchair was passing through. I saw people channel their grievances and frustrations in the most creative manner from humorous signs to memorable chants. I saw the best of humanity loudly reveal itself in the smallest of gestures and am so humbled and grateful to have been a part of it.
In the days after the marches I’ve read a lot of commentary and op-eds on the event, coverage has largely been positive but with some questioning, ‘What’s the point?” What I think is misunderstood is that the marches acted as a launching point for many who attended and have inspired others to be more civically engaged – that for me is the point.
And now I leave you with some of my favorite chants from the march:
We need a leader, not a creepy Tweeter!
Can’t build a wall, hands too small.
No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.
You’re orange, you’re gross, you lost the popular vote.