On Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, I marched and protested for the first time in my life.
And let me tell you—it was awesome.
It was a catharsis that I needed after the election. For those critical of the march, some have argued that President Trump has not done anything yet while in office. While that is debatable (after all, one of his first acts was to make sure the Department of Justice stopped its case against the Texas voter ID law, and many of his cabinet pics are extremely worrying to me). Nor am I denying that Donald Trump is President of the United States. Some might be, but I would argue that most people protested for a variety of issues, and contesting the election results was NOT one of them. The main momentum was anger on so many different levels, and the march emphasized being inclusive.
Some people were frustrated that an openly sexist candidate ran a campaign that used sexist attacks successfully to win the White House. And women weren’t the only targets—LGBT, people with disabilities, people of color, Muslims, and so many more. And some of these words carried over into actions, particularly in the way he interacts with women, and picked a cabinet largely made up of white men. While this march was labeled as a women’s march, it was inclusive to all those groups who Donald Trump has attacked over the past year and a half (or longer).
I’ll be honest, I debated about where or not I was going to march for well over a week. Part of it was that I didn’t want to do it alone. Part of me worried about the weather. And do I really have the time? But then I remembered what I wrote after the election on this blog. I didn’t need to just talk the talk. I needed to walk the walk.
Quick aside: Let me be clear on one point—I would not have marched if any other Republican candidate won the election. I never protested under President George W. Bush, even though I disagreed vehemently with his policies. President Trump has campaigned on taking away the rights of so many people, and for me, that is a cause worth protesting.
So I decided that I wanted to march not just for women’s rights, but all of our rights as Americans that I hold dear.
The march in Nashville was an awesome event to go to. I arrived around 9:45am, and there were already loads of people in the area. People young and old, men and women, black, brown, and white. It was a very diverse crowd with such a great energy.
I met up with some friends and new acquaintances, and mulled around before walking across the pedestrian bridge and did the mile walk for the march. One in our party had speakers on his bike, and he started off playing Shana Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” with strangers all around singing and dancing along (it is Nashville after all). There were so many clever signs (and someone dressed up as Abraham Lincoln). Everyone was just so nice to each other–I have never seen anything like it. And I also love the dude who looked like Hagrid who proudly wore a pussy hat (sadly, no pic).
All in all, it was an estimated 15,000 people who turned up in Nashville, and nearly 3.3-4.6 million in the U.S. protested in the name of this march with other protests around the globe. Did this march accomplish anything? Not yet. It is a start, though. And there is a call for continued action after the march.
Bottom line, it something that I am proud to have done, and it will give me some momentum in the weeks, months, and years ahead in this administration. After the total dismay and disgust that many of us felt after the election, it was wonderful to realize that there are plenty of other Americans who were just as mad as hell as you were, and decided to come out and act.