One week ago today, I was at the Women’s March in Washington, DC with hundreds of thousands of people. I took Friday off from work, left my husband with the caregiver and traveled to Baltimore, anxious and nervous. I had never participated in a demonstration before. I stayed near Annapolis with a friend of a friend, someone I had never met before but felt an instant connection with, along with the seven other women at the house. Debi and Chris welcomed us to their home and had everything prepared – a chartered bus to take us to the Metro line the next morning and prepaid Metro cards. Chris had fashioned gallon sized Ziploc bags with duct tape straps so that we could carry the water, apples, string cheese and granola bars they provided. Every detail was attended to and the impassioned, articulate conversation lasted long into the night.
At the Metro station the next morning, women were passing out pink pussy hats and I selected a neon pink hat made in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the Capitol South Metro stop, the platform was filled with marchers in pink hats and their cheers echoed through the tunnels. Even though we were at the rallying point at 3rd and Independence, we could not get close enough to hear any speeches. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the experience of the march – inspiring, awesome, euphoric – it was a peaceful gathering of like-minded souls pressed together in solidarity. My fellow marchers, Debi, Susan R.D., Susan D., Rhonda, Jami, Julie and Jessica, held onto each other as we meandered through the crowd, my neon pink hat serving as a beacon as we tried to stay together. I felt pride in our country as we marched among the buildings and monuments that belong to us, the American people. After the march, over dinner, we vowed to keep in touch and hold each other accountable with follow-up actions.
And then the week unfolded, as the flurry of executive orders and gag orders were issued, one action more horrific than the other. I was glued to social media and news shows, growing increasing hopeless and helpless. I had to train myself to step away, turn off the TV and iPad and stop looking at my phone.
And in those moments, I close my eyes and conjure images from the march — the cheers echoing through the tunnels in the Metro station, the women singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic” as we marched down Constitution Avenue, the chants of “This is what democracy looks like!” — and then I remember the sisterhood of my fellow marchers. It gives me the energy to fight on.