The Women’s March on Washington

I’m glad the march was so big that Baltimore’s MARC station was so overflowing at 720 on a Saturday, the line for the train 6 people deep and wrapping around the building and out to St. Paul St., that I gave up and drove to DC, and then contemplating the traffic jam in the direction of the metro, parked on a side street, and took the S4 bus downtown.  I watched the bus fill up, at first it was the usual faces of DC buses, locals on errands, tired immigrants coming home from godawful shifts, and then filling rapidly with passendegs holding clear bags of snacks, and wearing protest signs and knit hats, the bus driver reminding us to move on back until everyone is behind the yellow line, and patiently helping newcomers pay their fares, and then skipping stops as we approached downtown as we were too full for more passengers.

I’m glad the march was so big I couldn’t even see or hear the jumbotrons, let alone the stage.  I’m glad we more than filled the planned parade route to the point where they had to improvise a new route.  It was so big we crashed the cell networks for hours. I’m glad that while were were packed in bodies pressed against bodies, as far as the eye could see, when someone called out that someone who was feeling ill or in a wheelchair was coming through, the crowd parted and formed a path.

I’m glad the crowd chanted chanted “my body my choice” and then men in the crowd responded “her body her choice.”

I’m glad the crowd chanted “black lives matter” over and over and over.

I’m glad I saw a “water is life NoDAPL” sign and wish we had picked up that chant, at least in the small section of the march I could see or hear.

I enjoyed the signs with pictures of uterus with an ovary giving the finger with one of its follicles. God knows we need a smile. I also appreciated the reminders from other signs that being a woman is not defined by ovaries, and from signs reminding cis-women to stand in solidarity with our trans sisters.

Overall I found the language that borrowed from trump about “small hands” and “pussies” momentarily amusing, and then unsatisfying.  Any conversation that is based on his terminology will by definition be shriveled and stunted.

I’m glad I can still read enough Arabic to sound out from the NARAL stickers that the Arabic word for feminist is more or less “nisawiyeh,” which makes sense. And I felt a flash of pride and nostalgia to see “פמיניסטית” in hebrew on those stickers.  This is what intersecting identities feels like.

I saw brewing and building strength a movement based on compassion and supporting one another rather than the trumpism where the rich steal from the poor and the powerful devour the powerless.  I saw it in the gentle ways that no one pushed and people made room for eachother. I saw it in the diversity of signs and chants.  I saw it in the old people marching with canes and signs demanding a better world for their grandchildren. I saw it in the hand lettered sign of a seven year old proudly declaring herself the “black daughter of immigrants.” I heard it from the Maya Angelou and Audre Lorde quotes that appeared again and again on signs like background music.  Trump is the last gasp of the old world and those of us who have been in some ways complacent are rising up and tearing down what he represents.

After 4 hours of rallying at 2 more of marching I ended with a full heart and a migraine from thirst and hunger and exhaustion.

Worth it.


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