It’s been a week

I had this whole story outlined in my head. I formed it before the rally, during the march, and on my flight back to Portland. I was going to write about the incredible feeling of positivity, connectivity, and solidarity that embodied the Women’s March in D.C. It was an experience like nothing I’ve ever felt. 5 million people around the world marching together in support of one another.

The night before the march was filled with excitement, pre-gaming and catching up with old friends. Many of us that travelled from afar crashed with friends/family in D.C.

…and then this week happened.

Our new president signed 4 executive orders within the first week. Remember all those critics talking about abuse of power when Obama signed another executive order? This week, they fell silent.

When my friend came home from marching in D.C., she found an incredibly racist sign in her front yard. The local news did a story. The comments on the story made it worse.

The global gag rule was put back in place giving less autonomy to women’s clinics that receive even a small amount of federal funding.

National parks were silenced from stating climate FACTS.

The Dakota National Pipeline was authorized to continue despite it’s violation of numerous treaties with American Indian tribes.

Refugees were banned BASED ON THEIR RELIGION. Sound familiar?

…and more.

A hearty breakfast before facing the very crowded metro.
“…for my daughter.” — VA
“I’m marching for the future of my elementary students. I constantly remind them to follow their dreams.” — Arlington, VA

Basically, a new reality hit hard after such an uplifting weekend. So I’m left sitting here thinking what I can write about. Maybe those images, stories, and experiences don’t matter as much anymore?

I can’t write about the positive energy when it feels like our foundation of social progress is being dismantled. I can’t write about how we all came together and it was beautiful; so beautiful because I was able to meet beautiful souls from all over this country. Souls that came in different shapes, sizes, colors, and nations. I can’t write that because it will soon be followed by another racist comment from another white male that has nothing better to do in middle America. And I can’t write about how we stood together in support of one another, 5 million strong all over the world, because it isn’t going to stop the next racist or sexist executive order from our narcissist in chief.

I can’t… Nope. Fuck that.

I refuse to further normalize hate. I refuse to further normalize all the -isms that are continuing to stain the make-up of this country. I choose to be a part of progression. I want to move towards equality.

We need something to help us remember. Something to help get us through these next 2–4 years of tyranny. So here I am, writing about all of the things that I can’t write about.

“…to make Beyonce proud” — Arlington, VA

Portland, I love you. I’m so proud of my city; proud of the 100k strong who walked in the rain and rallied in solidarity. I’m proud of my husband who marched in support of women. I’m proud of my mother-in-law and aunt-in-law, who flew in from Missouri to march alongside my sister-in-law and 3.5 year old niece. I’m proud of all the parents who skipped nap-time and meandered into downtown with the whole family so that their kids could be a part of this historic movement.

I’m proud of my step-brother and step-mother who marched alongside 400 people in the very red state of Wyoming.

You are all amazing.

I travelled to D.C. intentionally. I’m lucky that I was able to do so. I know that all of those people mentioned previously would have been with me if they could have. Instead we marched together separately.

This election gave rise to a faulty system that we’ve worked to cover over the last 50 years. For years, many people have spoken about the injustices and -isms that were taking place all over the country, but for many, it took seeing a man spouting out all of the -isms without apology …and still getting elected to the highest office in the world. It’s embarrassing that it took something drastic for many of us to wake up. We should have been here sooner, but we’re here now. We’re standing together and we’re ready to stand strong.

“…because we can make our own decisions.” — Arlington, VA

In this new era, I search to take action in a way that I will be proud when I look back in 5, 15, 20, and 50 years. I seek to make my niece and nephews proud, for one day, I know in my heart we will get past the -isms. We will embrace diversity because we will know that it is our biggest strength.

“I marched today to show that I am not afraid of what the future holds for women. I am empowered, and now I am angry” — Seattle, WA

So on Inauguration Day, I flew to D.C. I flew in with thousands of women (and men) wearing pink hats — physically or symbolically. I travelled across the country all day, 10 hours of travel time. Nobody was pushy, nobody was cranky or frustrated. We were all excited to be there and felt an intuitive love and support for one another. We were all really happy to be in the presence of one another, despite the circumstances. During the march, we were packed in so tightly, nobody could move. We were literally shoulder to shoulder. Nobody was curt or rude. When a friend got sick, nearby doctors and nurses came to her aid, offered food and water and then stood next to her during the next rally cry.

“I march for my immigrant father and friends” — Spokane, WA

This is my story of my weekend in D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. From start to finish, I aimed to document the faces and to give rise to the voices who participated in the march. Their stories deserve to be heard. I write what I can’t write, and I show what I can’t show as a reminder to the 5 million that although we are now spread apart, we are still together.

“…because locker room talk that doesn’t include consent is really just bragging about sexual assault.” — Arlington, VA

“I march because of my responsibility as a white woman and innate pull towards justice. I march with the women whose lives aren’t represented enough. I march to insist on placing ourselves in moments of beautiful discomfort. I march to get to a place where intersectional feminism is a part of our moral culture. I march for our rights as humans.” — Portland, OR

“I march first for women and then for our rights that are threatened. I am here for my daughter and wife.” — Virginia
“This is her first experience as an adult. I used to take her to the protests against the Iraq War”; “Now I invited her to this one. It’s my turn” — Washington D.C.

I seek to give others a voice. I marched for my own deeply personal beliefs, but I don’t presume they are the same as everyone else’s. We all marched for our own reasons, but we all walked together for one goal: equality for everyone. We march because we live in a country where we can march; where we have the right to be heard. We march because it’s patriotic. We march because we refuse to be silenced.

“…because I’m worried our country is backpedaling. (I) lived at a time when racism, bigotry, and misogyny were the norm. I do not want my children and grand children to have to experience those injustices”; “…for all the women who gave before me and those who will follow me. …for all of the Americans who love this country” — Portland, OR
“I took my daughter to the voting booth and share peaceful protesting with her any chance I get because democracy is not a spectator sport. I want her to know the privilege of being an American and with that privilege comes the responsibility of exercising our constitutional rights” — Arlington, VA

As I sit here at my desk in Portland and read all of the nasty comments on Facebook post after Facebook post, and anticipate the nasty comments that may follow this post, I remember the feeling of 5 million marching together. I allow that feeling to fill up my being and I once again feel ready to take on the next four years. Much like Harry Potter walked into fight Voldemort with strength from the spirit of his family and friends (#nerdalert), I feel the 5 million standing next to me, as I also stand with all of you. Know that you are not facing this alone.

The next morning, the metro and the mall had much fewer people, but still kept a united energy. Pussy hats were still scattered throughout the city.
“…to stand up for all the people that are being bullied by Trump. …also because it’s 2017 not 1817” “…because I’m an intersectional feminist and I believe my rights are tied to the rights of African Americans, Muslim Americans and LGBTQ Americans and we all must stand together to protect those rights”
“…because I’m protesting scurrilous depravity”; “…because I’m really worried about the constitution” — Chicago, IL; “…we’re all equal and it’s important that we all unite in this time” — Anderson, IN; “..for social progress” — San Francisco, CA; “…I’m Jewish, my wife is Mexican and I don’t want history to repeat itself. I want an inclusive society” — Los Angeles, CA
“…for women’s control of their own bodies and the environment” — Oahu, HI; “…for reproductive rights of myself and future daughter and recognition that climate change is real and is one of the biggest threats our world faces” — Oahu, HI; “…because women’s rights are human rights” — Tahlequah, OK
“…because Trump is not a fit president and is inappropriate”; “I march because of the women before me that didn’t even have the right to vote. Right now and I feel like it’s our generation’s turn to make sure women get equal rights. I don’t think the current president understands that he works for us and that he represents us. I really think he’s all in it for himself and that’s not the job. He doesn’t understand the words public servant”; “I’m walking to help bring unity amongst us all and to make a point that our current president is not fit or looking out for the betterment of the people” — Beaverton, OR
“Too long have we stood by and kept silent, too long have we whispered behind doors but lived life as if we weren’t affected. We have been awakened. We will rise up. We will find a way to conquer hate. And she and I will do it together, among millions of others who refuse to watch hate towards other humans become the norm. We will share stories of kindness and love and support. We will finally begin to take action, in a way we have kept closely guarded in the backs of our minds. I can’t answer why we have sat on the sidelines up until now, but that is no longer an option. Every generation has found a way to fight and make a difference. This country had to fight to convince others to end slavery, to allow women to vote, to let all Americans choose to love any gender. And now it is our turn to stand tall and proud and fight for all of those rights and more. We will not be ignored. We will not be marginalized. We will not stand idly by. WE WILL NOT FADE AWAY. We march for love and kindness. We march for her daughters and my nieces. We march for equal pay for women. We march for Planned Parenthood and the incredible work they do saving lives everyday. We march for peace. We march for our LBGTQ friends. We march for freedom for ALL. We march for immigrants and their rights. We march for religious freedom. We march for the ownership of our OWN bodies. We march for you. We march for each other. And we march for the future. We will be a powerful voice against hate and those who threaten the progress we have made and the great strides yet to come. 
Millions of women, one voice.” — Canton and Kent, OH
“I’m here for my mother. God bless all moms” — MI; “I’m here for sister solidarity, we will overcome” — CA
“I’m here to be with people who think like me” — Washington D.C.; “….because it’s the right thing to do” — MI
“I marched because some of the most inspirational and amazing people in my life are women. And the idea that they would be treated with anything less than the greatest respect offends me to my core” — Washington D.C.

“I came because I needed to start somewhere, because I’d rather be an imperfect ally than a silent bystander, because I can’t keep quiet” — Dublin, Ireland
— Boston, MA
“I march because I love my mom. From my childhood, my father was long-distance. I grew up with my mom and my sister. I think every woman has a mom inside. Whatever they do, I always respect women. If somebody insulted a woman, I will defend them. I first march because he insulted women. Secondly because he is a big liar, and if we don’t say something, who will? We need to go there. He cannot just tweet. We need to speak up” — Washington D.C.

“I march because I have silenced myself for too long. When we stand together, all of our voices are amplified” — Portland, OR

I sat on the plane descending into Portland. Mt Hood, per usual, was putting on a show, and I could see the little girl looking out the window in front of me. We all marched for her. We marched and continue to march for her.

I continue to march for a better future; so that women have the same career opportunities and get paid the same salary for the same work, so that women can have autonomy over their own bodies, so that when that autonomy is violated, it becomes the fault of the aggressor, not the victim. We march so that women (and men) of color can be valued equally to those with white skin. We march to stand with our native brothers and sisters because for far too long they have been oppressed. These voices deserve to be heard.

And because we march together, we bleed together. We commit to the next four years of standing together, in supporting one another. We commit to staying active, to scattering back to our homes and continuing to march forward.

We march because when all human life is valued equally, we all benefit.