Welcome back, friends! For my first No Time For Fear column of 2018, it seems fitting that this week’s column be dedicated to the 2nd annual Women’s March, which happened across the United States and around the world this past Saturday.
And I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: I was very much not looking forward to it. Don’t get me wrong, I was fired up and ready to go once I got there, but I was especially grumpy and tired on my way to the march. This year has been a lot. For most of us, the constant news cycle and political craziness sweeping the U.S. and the world, has been overwhelming. But still, there is reason to hope.
Last year, I went with my sister and grandmother to the march in Seneca Falls, New York (read my recap here). But this year, I attended the march in New York City, which was an entirely different, but still awesome experience.
The Women’s March Alliance, a New York City nonprofit that formed after the first march, had this to say on their website: “NYC will raise its voice again to demand equality for all humans. Over the past year, basic rights for women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, the religious and nonreligious, people of color and even Mother Earth have struggled to survive under the weight of the current administration. America’s First Amendment has been challenged and healthcare for millions has been threatened. We must stand together to demand and defend our rights. We will not be silent! Join us and let your voice echo from the streets of New York City to the capital city. Show the world that red, white and blue are colors of tolerance. We will not be silent!”
Like I said, I was grumpy, sad, and tired upon leaving for the march, but when I got into Manhattan and began making my way uptown to the march starting point, my mood began to change. For one, I started blasting Fight Song by Rachel Platten, which I can now listen to without crying, so that’s progress. And two, the closer I got to the march area, the more the subways and platforms began to fill up. It was a Saturday morning and everywhere I looked, I saw women with signs, women wearing pink pussy hats, decked out in feminist apparel, people fired up and ready to — an automatic mood booster and an instant shot of adrenaline.
Last year’s march was an incredible day, but it was a day of protest and uncontrollable anger and resisting and women wanting to be seen, maybe for the first time. Speaking for myself, I know I still was a little shell shocked by the election and then the inauguration. This year, the mood was slightly different. I don’t know what I was expecting (maybe exhaustion, honestly) but the feeling in the air was more a push toward organizing and registering and voting for change. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but there was just more a palpable sense of joy and optimism more than anything else.
There wasn’t much marching going on where my friend and I were in the crowd. We had headed up to 71st Street, because that was where the main entrance was, but the streets were all blocked off, and we had to go up to 79th Street and wait to be funneled into the larger crowd. We ended up standing in front of the Museum of Natural History for almost two hours without moving, and then moved haltingly for a few blocks and finally called it quits a couple hours later. Pro tip: if you’re going to a large event and going to be on your feet for hours, make sure to bring water. We unfortunately did not, and it was a definite mistake!
Even though we didn’t really march for about three quarters of our time there, my friend and I still made our voices heard, and it was enough just to be there, surrounded by likeminded feminists dedicated to making the world a better place for girls everywhere. We chanted, we sang and we watched different performers and drummers, while also admiring everyone’s creativity — the signs just keep getting better and better, in my opinion. The feeling in the crowd was one of solidarity and togetherness and everyone lifting each other up as best we could. If anything, the march definitely reenergized me. This year has been a long and a draining one, and being together and surrounded by passionate, empowered people, was good for the soul. There were people marching as far as the eye could see, both in front of and behind me. I knew that there were 20+ blocks and side streets just chock full of people as well, so that was really special and magical.
One of the main themes of the march was all about voting, registering, organizing and the blue wave. Focusing on the 2018 midterm elections, happening in the United States this coming November, is crucial. My hope is that women, people of color, LGBTQ people and other minorities absolutely crush it. We need more of them represented in government in order for our government to accurately reflect the population instead of being just mostly straight, white men over the age of 50. The Resistance is coming, and we’re going to fight back for ourselves and on behalf of others.
Girl Museum Inc.