Text and Photos: Brooke Williams
On January 21, 2017, over 1 million people converged on the streets of the nation’s capitol to register their dissatisfaction with the newly elected President of the United States, and the agenda of division, bigotry, fear and hatred that his administration is trying to usher in. It is a day I will never forget.
On our drive down to DC from Brooklyn the roads were filled with cars, vans and buses of marchers wearing pink hats and waving protest signs. Even the rest stops were overrun by groups of primarily women, from all over the country, sharing coffee from Starbucks and Dunkin’ Doughnuts and talking about politics, activism and what it is going to mean to be a proactive citizen of the United States for the next 4 years and beyond.
By early Saturday morning, marchers were streaming out of train and metro stations all over the city, filling up all the streets around the stage where the rally was scheduled to take place. My interracial, interfaith family floated along with the tide, laughing at some of the more humorous signs, chanting and singing with hundreds of other marchers all around us, sharing stories with strangers about why we were all there. We marched for women to have control over our own bodies and be treated as equal to our fellow male citizens. We marched for Universal Health Care, for Paid Family Leave, and Immigration Reform. We marched for LGBTQIA rights and to remind everyone that Black Lives Matter. We marched to keep guns out of our schools and assault weapons out of the hands of civilians. We marched to tear down walls, not to build them up. We marched to protect Democracy as we know it. And we were a true reflection of the glorious mosaic that is the USA– Black, Native, White, Hispanic, Muslim, Male, Female, Queer, people in wheelchairs, babies in slings, the privileged and the struggling. And this march took all of our anger, and believe me, there was plenty, and channeled it into a productive collective action that transformed a potentially paralyzing mass depression into an empowering primal scream. And out of that sound emerges the roar of action.
Because the time is now. We will not retreat into our various corners. We will continue to sit together at the table, to find our common ground, and to work to protect those around us who are the most vulnerable. As the organizers of the March so eloquently state: “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
Amen Sisters. And Onwards!
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