My 13-year-old daughter and I joined a group of 50 people who traveled overnight on Friday and arrived in DC at 6 AM on Saturday morning. I had never attended a march or event of this sort before and really did not know what to expect. When I mentioned that I was going, many thought it was a bad idea and said they would not risk going to a place where there was potential for violence. I thought about that for a moment and the risk of bringing my 13-year-old daughter. But, I felt that this was the right thing to do. I knew this would be an historic moment, for both of us, to join others and stand up for basic human rights and values as well as for our planet. I was not planning on protesting against the Trump presidency, as some thought we were doing, but rather, I was joining other like minded people to peacefully show the Washington leadership all that we deeply care about.
Our small group of five from South Church in Andover entered the dark empty streets of DC. It felt like a lull before the storm. Only police officers and a few vendors were on the streets and all were so friendly. It almost felt like they were really happy to see us there despite the fact that they were facing a long day of work ahead of them. We made our way to the First Congregational UCC Church in DC for an extravagant welcome and breakfast. They had even prepared bags of goodies to go and handed out warm hats as we left for the rally. It was a great opportunity for me to tell my daughter how important church is and that she can always expect to be welcomed by a church like this wherever she goes.
As we walked to the rally, we started to see the posters and the people, so many now. The posters were so passionate and reflected each person’s voice. My daughter wished she had created one herself, no doubt to shout out her voice too. Some were grandmothers not happy to be standing up for the women's rights they fought for many years ago. Others were young women with the signature pink hats proudly holding posters with whimsical comments about the inappropriate actions and words made by our new president. Some protested for climate and others stood up for the protection of a woman's body. I was surprised to see the men who were proud to join their wives, friends and daughters. We were lucky to come across some local art students who had created free posters. These are the ones that we carried and my daughter chose one that said, “Women are Perfect”, which she will proudly hang in her room back home.
We were in the crowds most of the day and sandwiched like sardines. We met women who had come from all over the country and all different ages, economic and ethnic backgrounds. The energy was amazing and positive and uplifting. Everyone was there on common ground. There were no fights or anger. You could really feel the pervasive love throughout most of the crowd. I guess for me it was so enlightening to know there were so many people out there that felt the same way that I did. I think we all felt compelled to be there for one reason or another but as we joined together we seemed to be one strong voice. It felt like a movement had started and I texted that to someone back home. We marched in the streets and my daughter had the great experience of witnessing all of this. I don't think she will ever forget it. I’m so glad that she came. I don’t think she initially knew what it was all about or why we were going. But, she definitely walked away knowing that it’s important, and that it’s possible, to stand up for basic human rights and for causes that you believe in. I am grateful for that. I too walked away feeling inspired to get involved back home and find ways to make sure the our leadership doesn’t reverse the rights and laws that we have worked so hard for. The general theme I got from the speakers at the march is that NOW is the time to speak up, be active and get involved. We can not sit back and take our rights for granted. I believe many are waking up and starting to join this movement.
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