At 5:45 am, Saturday morning, I laid awake in bed, staring at the ceiling. My body was apparently ready to get going. So, that’s what I did. I got up and made my way to Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station to board the MARC train to Union Station with 6 other friends. Three of them brand new to me that morning. We stood outside in the dreary rain mist for two and a half hours waiting to board a train. We started to worry that we wouldn’t make it to DC. The line to get into the train station wrapped around the front of the station and wound up the street. It was a moment of joy and pride in my fellow citizens. I honestly had not thought that this many people would show up. But, they did.
Once we made it to Union Station in DC, our group of 7 followed the crowds walking towards the March stage, at the intersection of 3rd and Independence. We were already tired from the long wait, but once we got to DC, there was a rejuvenation of spirit. A sea of pink was descending on the National Mall and it was glorious.
I haven’t been able to fully and accurately write down all of my feelings of this past election. What IT means to see President Barack Obama get replaced with President Trump*. IT comes in waves and gently subsides, only to be brought crashing back to shore periodically. I don’t even think I fully comprehend what IT is, right now. Not yet. Is IT fear of my reproductive health care being taken away? I was only able to get an IUD due to the ACA aka Obamacare. Thanks, Obama! Is IT anger that the person following in Obama’s footsteps is the very person who irrationally claimed that Obama wasn’t an American citizen and that he was a Kenyan Muslim who founded ISIS and was married to a man? Is that IT? Or, is IT sadness that so many people can look at Trump and listen to his
speeches incoherent rambling, and honestly think that he is going to “Make America Great Again”? He hounded Obama to release his birth certificate, and yet won’t release his taxes? Is hypocrisy the new black? Is that IT?
Leading up to the March, I read a lot of articles about black and brown women not wanting to attend. I agreed with a lot of what they had to say. Everyone’s feelings are valid. But, I had made up my mind to go. I felt I had to. I felt it was my duty. So, I went. I went with six white women, three of whom are very close friends of mine. I was worried I would be in a sea of white faces in pink hats. I was worried the promise of intersectionality at the March was going to be just another campaign promise. But, I was wrong. The most amazing feeling I had, Saturday, January 21, 2017, was walking alongside the constant sea of white, black, brown, and every shade in between. Most were also in pink hats. Young faces and old faces smiled and chanted and laughed and sang. It was America and it was amazing.
The 2016 election was the third presidential election in which I was eligible to participate. It will not be my last. I am a 32, almost 33-year-old citizen and it is high time I educate myself on my local and state issues. I have not always been so involved in midterm elections (cough Hogan cough), but I am making this my 2017 resolution. Just like participating in the March was my duty, so is participating in the midterm election. I have taken living in a fairly liberal city and state for granted for too long. I can no longer wait for the hard work to be done for me, I have to take part.
Sunday, after resting, I read many posts about women who were not impressed with the March. Some of these women are people I went to high school and college with. Some were former coworkers. I read a copy-and-paste response to the many articles covering the Marches that read “This woman doesn’t need to march for her rights. This woman doesn’t play victim”. Other comments brought up the fact that many women, worldwide, have fewer rights than American women, so we shouldn’t be marching for our rights, we should be marching for theirs. Huh? A woman being unable to drive in Iran means I can’t march in DC because President Trump** wants to take away my health care? It’s moments like that where I send silent prayers of thanks to God. Had I not been born to my mother, would I be laying on my sofa, recuperating from a 12 hour protest day in DC? Or, would I be sitting on my phone or computer criticizing those who did? I am so blessed to have been raised by my mother and her family. I was always taught that being a Christian meant following Jesus and living in his example. I am no better than anyone else on this planet and my hands will not cast stones. My hands will extend and lead to open arms for an embrace. I am here to fight for equality for all. I am here to make sure my black body is treated justly. I am here to make sure that my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother didn’t work 2 and 3 jobs for nothing. I am here to make the path a little easier for those who will come after me. My rights as an American citizen didn’t appear overnight. I have generations of women to thank for them. Now, it’s my turn.
* Illegitimate President.