January 22, 2017
women's march | don't stop marching
When I went to bed Friday night I was hesitant, nervous, cautious. Today I feel on fire.
I was nervous about going to Women's March to the Capitol here in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My fiancé has the flu and sciatica, so I knew I'd be going alone. I was worried about what was going to happen at the march. Would people be angry? Would anyone show up? I'm horrible at directions - would I even be able to find the meeting spot? Saturday morning I laced up my boots and walked to the train. The moment I stepped onto the platform I felt better. Two dozen other women with signs, husbands, boyfriends, and babies in tow were waiting with me. When we boarded the train car, everyone was buzzing. Each stop the train made multiplied the number of passengers - all protesters, all full of energy. I gave up my seat and by the time we reached our destination our train was so full we had to pass by the last four stops without being able to let anybody on. That was the moment that I felt it. The power that happens when women gather. And I wasn't nervous anymore. I was smiling. Everyone was peaceful, but ready to fight. We un-sardined ourself from the train and marched to the parking lot that was designated as the meet-up location. There were so many people (estimated 100,000 after it was all said and done). Babies in strollers, children with signs they clearly made themselves. Female firefighters in yellow suspenders. Older women, younger women. We gathered, marched, chanted, and it was all peaceful. It was beautiful, and empowering.
And it was sad too. The frustration could be felt across the crowds. Over chants of "Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go," you could hear muffled conversations of anger over the current state of our government. Young women chatting about disbelief. Older women complaining about having come so far just to be thrown decades back. Everyone looked fed up, and fired up.
It was raining while we marched. I was freezing (and maybe now a little sick as a result). There were almost 70,000 more people there than estimated. Reading news reports when I got home, it seemed we weren't the only ones who were over-packed. But spirits were high, in spite of delays and the rain. It was all worth it.
And today I feel fire, because while yesterday was the most magnificent display of female empowerment I have ever witnessed, I know it's just the beginning. False reports from the White House about turnout numbers has me fired up. Cutting of arts programs has me fired up. The fact that there were protesters across the globe has me fired up. What happens tomorrow and the next day and the next day has me fired up.
I don't know what the future has in store, but I can tell you what my plan is. I'm going to stay vigilant. I'm going to vote in the mid-terms. I'm going to keep speaking out against what I think is wrong and what I feel is an abuse of power. I'm going to do everything in my capability to keep the momentum of yesterday's march going. I'm going to stay fired up.