Dancing for Freedom: My Experience at the Women's March

As most of you probably know, on Friday March 20th 2016, our country experienced the unprecedented inauguration of Donald Trump as our 45th president which was met the following day with the historic turnout of the Women’s March which took place across the globe.

It’s difficult to put my experience at the women’s march into words because it was more amazing than I could have ever imagined and more than anything it was something that I and a lot of my friends needed. The march was scheduled to begin at 11am on Saturday with speeches from people like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Boston Mayor John Walsh. However, the D line train ride was so packed that my friend and I were not able to make it to Boston Common until about 1pm. Now picture this: a sea of pink hats, rainbow flags, and signs scattered through one immeasurable body of people. It was a sort of chaos that still managed to be cohesive and peaceful.

After fueling ourselves with caffeine from Dunkin Donuts, my friends and I proceeded to move through the Commons to try and figure out where the march was starting from and to see if it had already began. We quickly came to realize that there was a blockage of people preventing us from moving further into the park so us being the good gospel choir members that we are, we followed the music. My friend noticed the faint sound of drumming on the other side of the park and once we reached the sound we found a circle of people young and old from all different backgrounds, dancing and singing to the beats created by people with impromptu instruments like buckets. We were immediately drawn to the group and began dancing and singing along. What began as a moment of curiosity quickly defined of our experience at the march.

We were able to say chants from “Black Lives Matter” to “We’re Here, We’re Queer, and We’re not Gonna Live in Fear” which created an indescribable sense of solidarity and a safe space for everyone to feel welcome. In a time when a lot of minority groups feel like their rights are being threatened by this administration in some way or another, the power and importance of safe spaces is undeniable. In addition, my experience at the march really resonated with me because of my experience with student protests of the University of Cape Town when I was abroad last semester. Although I identified with the protests advocating for free decolonized education, I often felt like I couldn’t fully participate because of the privilege that being an international student gave me. However, I did take the time to learn as much about the protests as I could and to truly be motivated and fueled by the passion students had for the cause they’re fighting for. Participating in a drum circle during the Women’s March reminded me of South Africa especially because the method that the protesters used was heavily based on singing chants from as far back as the anti-apartheid struggle as they moved throughout the school disrupting class.

On behalf of myself and many others, I can say that the next four years are going to be difficult and chaotic. However, the women’s march allowed me to see the true force of people who are willing to resist when their existence isn’t being accepted. Even though there may not be any immediate effects from the march it made me hopeful and these days a little bit of hope is enough to motivate me to do the work that will make the next four years more bearable.

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