Experiment #12: Women's March 2017 - And Still I Rise

If you're reading this and you didn't go to the women's march today... I'm sorry, you should have. But remember this, you should have - gender and opinion independent, today was a day I will remember for a long time because it was a day where my city stood together and said "This is wrong".

Of course from my end, I woke up and dragged my feet, questioning my decision to go to this March. I would have much rather have laid in bed and eaten Reese cups all day. Instead, I for some reason, had committed to bike downtown about 15 miles, then haul my bike with me on a 3.5 mile walk and yell about things that I probably couldn't change. Oh, and it was supposed to rain... ugh.

A giant inflatable Earth
But that reason... I had to go, the call to this March was years of internal fighting screaming to be let out. My entire life, whether I wanted to or not, has been a women's March. I also knew that the times I made real progress on my life March were when I was buoyed on by others - emotionally, intellectually, and sometimes physically. The Seattle Women's March was the chance to unite with thousands of women who also been doing their own March, and in realizing our struggles were empathetic, we would grow.
I had to go.

My solo-bike-pilgrimage there brought out the loneliness of my own March. I thought about when I first realized sexism - I was 7 or 8 and I realized that in the Catholic faith, women could never be a priest, which is considered a deeper bond with God. In that I was simply female, I would never have the choice of attaining this bond, ever. This distinct, inexplicable male-female boundary was the first strike that ultimately led to me leaving the Catholic faith. One's gender should not be a prohibitive rule.

A lot of love going on
I saw a mother helping her daughter into the car with a musical instrument. They were both laughing as they hopped into the car, probably going to a music lesson. I wondered about that young girl's dreams - if she aspired to be a conductor one day and when she too would learn of the rules set in place for her because she was born without a Y chromosome.

As I rolled onto Mercer Island, the tenor of my bike ride changed... I started to see pink hats at bus stops. I saw women carrying signs that said "I love you". I saw driver's opening their doors to people waiting at the bus stop and saying "we're going to the Women's March if you want a lift". I openly wept at this - the juxtaposition of my mind reliving times of 'no' while seeing 'yes' between strangers.

The park was packed by the time I arrived, only to become increasingly so over the next 30 minutes. Signs, effigies, and pink - pink was everywhere. People were protesting not just for women's equality but NODAPL, don't defund Planned Parenthood, save the Earth, Black Lives Matter, Muslims are US citizens too, etc. I talked to strangers - I asked them why they were there, what brought them there, and how do they like living in Seattle. They all echoed the same call I felt - that time doesn't heal all wounds... but empathy can heal some.

Hey! We know each other!! 
The Seattle Women's March had only prepared for about 30 thousand people to show up. Instead over 140 k showed up, angry, loving, and united. As I marched, I ran into people I knew, some new friends and some distant friends from the past that I hadn't seen in years. The happiness level was somewhere around euphoric as we watched other people find friends and family and talk about the issues at hand with a sympathetic ear. I walked with Michelle Cote, her fiance Roscoe, and her friend Amber for most of the March, catching up, laughing, and finding a lot of joy in three other people who are here for same/similar reasons that you are.

The end of the March

Probably the most profound thing for me was seeing all the dad's their carrying their young daughters on their shoulders. Michelle and I looked at each other and were like "those girls... they are so lucky. Their fathers love them so much". More than that, those dad's wanted to their daughters to see strong women, to find their own strength at a young age, and to grow up in a world where they had choices and were loved.

Overall, it was a surreal experience - I feel as if I have been initiated into some secret club I have been looking for my entire life. The message from the March was clear ->

We are not alone.

 This fight will not be easy. 

We are not fighting for just us, we are fighting for those girls on their dad's shoulders


The motto of the March was "And Still I Rise ". Thank you Maya Angelou, I think your words perfectly encompass how I feel after today - I am too strong to succumb to settling for anything less than equality. Lots of love to you all.

Unknown

2 comments:

Charles McEachern said...

I went to the Minnesota march, and wrote a bit about it:

http://charles.uno/optimism-cynicism-womens-march/

Lois Keller said...

Love it Charles!! I agree with your analysis that a pro-life democrat vs pro-choice democrat are never going to agree. I think what people TOTALLY miss is that in our own lives, we're unlikely to be directly affected by abortion. I know more people killed via gun than I know who have had an abortion. I also know of more politicians that have embezzled money than I know who have had an abortion. The obsession and division caused by this is astounding and serves as an excellent distraction while more nefarious/serious consequences are at stake.

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