On January 21st, I stood on the corner of Independence Avenue and 6th Street in Washington D.C. and no matter which direction I looked, I was faced with women. Women from all over the country came to Washington D.C. the day after the Inauguration of our 45th president to rally together in opposition to the new administration. Whether it be because they believe in a woman’s right to choose what to do with their own bodies, or because they believe in equal pay for equal work, or because they believe that a sexual assault is never “locker room talk,” or because they believe in climate change, or because they support the ACA, or because they are against racial injustice, or because they believe trans people are valid, or because they believe in LGBT rights, or because, or because, or because. Because they refuse to see us go backwards instead of forwards. We all stood, all 500,000+ of us, in Washington D.C. and showed that we’re here to fight.
This march wasn’t about disrespecting the government or being angry, liberal, feminists and burning bras. It was about taking the first real step in equality and justice for all, even in the face of 4 years where we’re uncertain those things will be maintained. Hearing from prominent activists and members of congress such as Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Janet Mock, Kamala Harris, America Ferrera, The Mother’s of the Movement, and so so so many more amazing women (and men) was a fierce showing of who is in our corner. It was about inspiring women to defy the patriarchy and the racism and the classism that we are often forced under, and to make changes in their communities. Women left the march ready to run for office, to dismantle oppressive systems, to call their senators, to organize their own rallies– to be active members in shaping their futures.
This march, in our present political atmosphere, was necessary, and was effective. Women are still inferior in so many aspects of our society, and the effects are even more felt by women of color and trans women. Women still have to battle everyday sexism, racism, transphobia, etc, even though we can now do “landmark” things like vote and be in the workforce. Just because we no longer live in a world where the separation is violent and jagged, it is still a separation. So, for this many people to band together and say, “we know what we experience, and we’re tired of it,” showed the country and the world that we’re tired of pretending that equality has been won. We are still fighting everyday, and this march was a show of force. Networks were formed, new opinions were heard, privileges were challenged, and it was all led and organized by women of color. We have women of color to thank for this momentous occasion, and I am eternally grateful.
I was surrounded by people from every walk of life, and the message was universal– we are here. There has been controversy on whether or not the march was inclusive or if it even had any effect. People everywhere are using their social media to oppose what I stood in the middle of. For all of those people, I’m here to tell you, you didn’t see what I saw. You didn’t experience what I experienced. You weren’t there.