As I settled back into my daily routine, as a mother, a volunteer, and a professional, after the trip to the Women’s March on Washington DC, I wanted to make sure to document this event for myself, and most importantly, for my 10-year-old daughter who made the trip with me. However, I felt I didn’t have much new to add as many women, and men, had already beat me to it. The mention of diverse thoughts, descriptions of the massive scene(s), explanations of #whyImarch, the sea of #pussyhats, the declaration to resist, etc., all thoughts I vehemently shared. So instead, I decided to sit with the experience for a while, to digest and reflect, as well as to listen to my daughter’s responses to others who asked her, “How was the March?” This was the most enlightening, it reaffirmed my intent for marching, that is, to share my convictions, restored by the Women’s March on Washington DC, with my daughter.
1. Hope. As a young immigrant girl, I had lots of hope. I hoped that education would be the key to eliminating the racism and discrimination I felt and experienced around me. I hoped to be an adult whose work was to empower some, educate others, and eradicate the fear that kept us apart. I continuously educate myself, a professional student of sorts. And, I work to empower, educate, and eliminate the fears that continue to feed racism and discrimination. Yet, the November election and the Trump Administration destroyed most, if not all, of that youthful hope.
Hope was restored at the March. To be among a massive crowd of an estimated 470,000 women, men, and children resisting racism, resisting discrimination, resisting the ugly, fearful, and divisive rhetoric of our current administration, restored my hope in humanity and reignited my drive for advocacy work and to resist complacency and despair. Our voices will be heard.
2. Patience. Patience is not my strongest virtue. I tend to step into a situation without giving it a second thought. I was the middle school kid that jumped into the middle of a fist fight to break it up, only to get caught up in the fight itself. I don’t have patience for intolerance, get trapped in the middle of it, and later realize the hypocrisy of my actions.
The March restored my intention to continue to work on patience. With a massive crowd, and, have I mentioned, an estimated 470,000 people, there was plenty opportunity to lose it. My daughter had a few episodes. We arrived at approximately 7.45 AM and quickly staked our spot one block away from the main stage with a jumboTron to the front right, for better viewing, and Don’s Johns to the right of us, in the hope of quick access when the time came. Being a mother you stake your event spots with children in mind, good views and johns for last minute notices. By 9 AM everyone’s personal space was nonexistent, and individuals less than 5’ tall were literally swallowed whole.
The wave of complaints began promptly at 10 AM with “Let’s get started!” when the program was delayed for what may have seemed eternity, to “Let us march!” when the program ran over its intended concluding hour at 5 PM. And there was every grumble in between, from several long trains of elbow-locked people attempting to make their way to the johns, to crowd confusion as to the start and redirection of the march, as well as the usual pushing and shoving, along with the stepping on toes. Needless to say, there was plenty of opportunity to lose patience, and yet we all kept our cool. We knew our purpose and fulfilled our commitment to “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.” And then, we marched at about 6 PM until nightfall.
3. Mothers, gotta love us. No matter how competitive or how annoying we get, one can always count on a mother to lend a hand, a watchful eye, a listening ear, or that extra little, minute thingy that is desperately needed in that most awkward moment your child is having a breakdown. My faith in mothers was restored at the March.
There was a pact made among parents, truthfully, among mothers, of several Women’s Marches across the nation that popped up on social media. The pact was simple, to parents taking their young ones to marches there was a pre-arranged meeting spot and all parents would be the hands, the eyes, the ears, and the nurses for each other’s young ones. Safety measures were shared and all had better peace of minds that our children would have the experience we each desired for them, experiences that were as diverse as the marches themselves.
I witnessed this pact in action, at one point, at what seemed to be the climax in which personal space did not exist, literally, sardines in a can, a young boy was separated from his group, engulfed by the crowd. Immediately the game, Pass It On, sometimes called, Telephone, began. The name and gender of the child was passed on from ear to ear, no errors, no hesitations, and within minutes the boy was found. Later, we heard a blind person was separated from his/her guide. The call came through the intercom and the pact was instantly initiated.
My faith in mothers was restored at the March.
Why I march? I continue to reflect on this question daily, as the overwhelming feeling sets in while going through the calls to action coming in from various groups. Women’s rights, immigration & refugees, #BlackLivesMatter, LGBTQIA, indigenous people’s rights, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, education, these are many of the reasons why I continue to march. Hear My Voice.