It's been a full week since the Women's March on Washington and the women's marches around the world. I hardly know where to begin. I was one of the 500,000 women marching in D.C. Let me clarify that this was not a march against trump but a march for women. The march was about all of the things that women care about, things that affect their lives and the lives of their family members. And if trump was “bashed”, that just a bonus to me and most of the women in the march and on the bus that I met that day.
January 21st started very early, around 2 am. I came home from work the day before and slept about 7 hours before the march. (I need my rest or I will be totally crabby and not feisty)! Most of the women on the bus had not slept at all. One complained that her kids had eaten her snacks. Another was really fired up and ready to go, too excited to sleep. Still another reminisced about marching in the 1960’s. Others were obvious novice political protestors like me. Most of all, we all wanted our voices to be heard.
Food was a big concern for most of us. We needed the fuel to march and to calm our nerves, I believe. Snacking was rampant on our way to D.C. and the calming smell of coffee was ever present. After the march, the snacks also flowed freely from hardboiled eggs to junk food. My case of water was long gone but others had plenty of bottles to pass around. We drank lots of water but not too much, so that we did not have to use the dreaded bus toilet. I brought a big bag of completely loaded carb-laden snacks.. They were a real hit, I guess, because the bag never made it to me. (Never fear because I ate my share of carbs when I got home Sunday morning).
Driving by bus is always an adventure. Comfortable, spacious seats, great restroom accommodations, a temperature controlled coach, a professional, healthy, non-directionally challenged driver, and a kind, thoughtful tour leader are always the hope of bus passengers everywhere, but not on this trip. We were squished together, forced to use the restroom on the bus (no getting off the bus!!), had a freezing or hot flashed temperature system, a seriously scary, directionally challenged, hacking bus driver, and a sharp, temperamental tour leader. Who could ask for more?
As our coughing, sickly bus driver drove us on our way, we were at first crawling and then flying (75 MPH). I was really glad to get to D.C. for sure, for many reasons, and so were the thousands at the Metro station. A collective roar rose through the crowd when we all saw each other; it was a flash of energy, goodwill, and determination to make this day the largest march that our country had ever seen. It did live up to that and more, much more.
Upon departing the uber-crowded Metro, the first group that I saw were Native Americans, a group well acquainted with loss of their rights. The hair literally stood up on the back of my neck when I saw them. It was a very profound introduction to what the day would hold for me. Speaker after speaker inspired me to become more involved in helping other women, the poor, the elderly, the differently-abled, those needing Planned Parenthood services, the incarcerated. I was moved nearly to tears by Gloria, America, Randy, Scarlett, Kirsten, Cecile, LaDonna, Van, Angela, Ashley, Michael, Muriel, and actually…all of the speakers. I felt so comforted and inspired to know that these women and men felt as I did and that we all agreed that something needed to be done to improve our country and the lives of all people, not just the 2%.
So last night and today, I have thought a lot about this March for Women, talked with others who were not there about what I saw, felt, and heard. They all wished that they had gone, too, but I knew right then and there that I had represented them at this March. I took their hearts, their feelings, and their lives with me as I cheered speaker after speaker and felt as empowered as they now do, too. I encouraged them, as I encourage you, to take action. Do one thing everyday. As Michael Moore said, start with phone calls, posters, meeting-up with liked minded folks, or even run for office. Let your voice be heard.
So, speak up, feisty ladies, and let your voice be one of positive change and hope, both locally and nationally. Speak up for the wrongs. Be an upstander. Be an American woman who voice will be heard and silenced no more by anyone. We all deserve better. Be part of the solution. I march with you, as will millions of other men and women.
Hope to see you all at the next March, feisty ladies. The country needs us!