Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington D.C 2017

Today like for millions of people was a day of mixed emotions. I have had plans to go to the Washington D. C Women’s March for quite some time. But last minute the friend I was supposed to go with couldn’t go, I asked some random people but none became real plans.

So I went by myself. With nothing but my camera and what few things could fit in my camera bag.

The official mission statement: The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us - immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault - and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.

Everyone had their personal reason to march. Some came for their Moms, Grandmothers, daughters, etc. I had three:

Me- I work to support my family and to pay for daycare. I need access to equal pay, benefits, and health care. I need someone to watch out for me.

My daughter- I don’t want her to grow up in a world where she is told that she can’t. I'd also like her to have a planet to live on but "climate change isn't real." 

My students- Have you heard his Secretary of Education nominee? We need guns to protect us from bears? We need to get rid of IDEA? No public schools? What kind of education system will that leave us?

I woke up at 7:30am and dragged Troy out of bed. He dropped me off at the local metro where the lines where already crazy. It took me 20-30min to find the right line, By total coincidence I was standing next to my neighbors. An hour later I got on the Metro. Lucky for me I was dropped off at the very end of the line. Meaning by the time we got to the second or third stop, there was absolutely no room. The cars were packed, PACKED, I stood the whole two-hour ride. Because I was by myself, and, well, me. I talked to everyone around me. On the train I met local teachers, woman from Maine, New Jersey, & even Ireland!
My favorite sign- probably because Troy was with Kelli

              The feeling at the station and on the bus was excitement and support. Women and men were cheering, finishing their signs, passing out water and granola bars. People weren’t pushing or complaining about the insane lines and long waits. They were cheering and encouraging each other.

This 5 year old stood in line for hours and sat on the Metro for two! 

              Once I got off the train I walked up to a giant sea of pink hats. Here I met more people from all over the country and in every age range. The rally took place at Independence Ave & 3rd. But, as you no doubt no. There was millions of people there. The closest I got was Independence & 11th. They had large screens projecting the speeches every few blocks so everyone could hear. Many of the speeches where on Planned Parenthood, another majority was on equal opportunity and equal pay. There was some on education, global warming as well as the North Dakota access pipeline. Some spoke, some sang, some read poetry, and some just made simple statements.

I won’t lie, there was a lot of Trump hate. But as many people have liked to point out, he is President. And that can’t be changed, but we can contact our local representatives, get involved, volunteer, and be heard.

              During the rally the emotions where all over. Everyone saw and heard different things, so everyone had their own “emotional roller coaster.” It was anger, excitement, hope, motivation, I could go on and on. I encourage you to look at clips of the speakers, you will no doubt feel inspired. 
This Cop was with us. He encouraged, chanted, and even danced. 

              The rally was 10-1:15 and then the march was supposed to start. Supposed too. 1:15 came and left and the speeches continued, people were getting frustrated, tired, and wanted to march. In between speaker’s people were chanting “March! March! March” Many people (including me) started walking, it was time to move! Slowly but surely we were moving, it was very slow, in the beginning, but once we started turning off Independence it picked up. Then we were on Constitution Ave and there was no stopping. People were chanting, screaming, and singing. About ½ mile in we got ushered off Constitution and into the field in front of the Monument. I later learned it was because the official March got called off. There was too many. Too many Mothers, sisters, Fathers, brothers, lovers, marching that they had to cancel it.

              As I was standing in front of the Monument I was just walking around following the crowd. I continued to talk to people. Many people came with families of all different shapes and colors. It was beautiful to see.

              Eventually I made it to the point where I could see the white house. People had taken their signs and hung them on the gate. I was fortunate enough to get a text from my best friend that her and her Dad had come. After taking 30min to find each other we walked the 3 miles to the car and went home.
People left signs for politicians to read 

              As I set here and reflect I can’t help but feel hope for the future. While the people elected might be scary there are millions of people who won’t sit back. 

We will not be silenced.