Saturday, January 28, 2017

Reflecting on the Women's March on Washington

Last weekend my husband and I attended the Women's March in Washington, D.C. with some dear friends. It was an amazing day and one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I've never marched or protested before. This was my first time. Given my anxiety in crowds and my introverted nature, driving 8 hours through the night on Friday after work and spending my Saturday on my feet, trapped in a sea of humanity didn't sound all that appealing to me.

But if I want to live up to my One Little Word this year, I felt like I needed to be a part of this. I want to be on the right side of history. Imagine if I had been given the opportunity to attend the March on Washington back in 1963 and I declined because I don't like crowds. I would have regretted it for the rest of my life.

Our friend Joe who attended the march with us said something really profound in the van on our way home from the march: "I fell in love with 500,000 people I never met."

Words can't express what a powerful, unifying day it was for those 500,000 people we'd never met, but also for the friends with whom we traveled. Words also can't express how proud I am of my husband, whose presence at this march lit a fire under him and has turned him into an activist. It fills me with pride to see him standing up for something he believes in.

Here are a few pictures from that historic day:

I am under no delusion that this day was perfect. Yes, this was the largest march in American history. Yes, there were zero arrests, which is not only a source of pride but also a source of criticism. Why? Because if this had been a Black Lives Matter march or a march in support of any other marginalized people of color, would police presence been more aggressive? I'll let you mull over that one for a while. The day was also overwhelmingly white despite the emphasis on intersectional feminism. So yes, it was a beautiful, empowering day. But we still have work to do. And marching one day is not enough. This march was not a novelty. It was the beginning of a movement. We need to step up and pay more attention to our democracy, stop reading headlines on Facebook and start reading full-fledged articles from legitimate news sources. We need to start calling our senators and representatives on the regular. If you attended the march last weekend and HAVEN'T called your senators yet, what are you waiting for? And finally, all of us white feminists need to step up and start listening to more women of color. Feminism is stronger than our own white fragility.

Check out my current giveaway on my book blog, inspired by the Women's March on Washington.

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