Today, I marched as part of the local Women's March on Washington.
It was cold and muddy, but for the first time since November 8, I felt the small stirrings of hope. In every direction, I saw men and women of all ages, colors and backgrounds peacefully walking in solidarity with one another. I saw kindness and anger, compassion and fire, all wrapped up into one solid mass of unified individuals showing their commitment to being heard and seen.
I marched not out of denial--I'm well aware we've got a new president, one I didn't vote for--but on behalf of freedom and equality for my brothers and sisters, my loved ones, my family and my child, my city and my country. I marched with dear friends, new friends and complete strangers. I marched because doing nothing is no longer an option. I marched not necessarily for me as a woman, due to my privilege, but for women of color, trans women, women who are not able bodied, Muslim women, Latina women, Asian women, Native women.
I marched for all women.
I used to assume that somebody else would do the work. I used to step back to avoid ruffling feathers. I used to remain quiet because I thought that's what good girls do. I used to believe that speaking up and showing up was for other people, not me.
This morning, I stood with twenty thousand people. I looked at the ten-year-old boy holding a sign that said, "Trump is drama for my mama," as he walked with his little sister and mother. I looked at the older woman hobbling with a cane holding a sign that said, "I marched in the 60s, now I'm 60, I can't believe I still have to march." I looked at the teenage black girl baring her breasts, covered with glitter, and watched the two women next to her say, "Not for me, but good for her." I looked at the three young women and listened to their spoken word poetry demanding that women are strong, women are wild, women are powerful. I looked at the men holding the hands of their loved ones, marching right along, knowing that this fight is their fight, because this fight is the fight of all of our lives.
It always has been. It just took me a long time to realize that I'm a part of it.
It is true that marching does nothing if not followed by action. It is true that marching alone cannot save the world, or change laws, or influence leaders. But when I hear someone decry the value of marching, and of activism in general--when I am told to "accept the election results" and "stop being a snowflake"--I think that it sounds a whole lot like an attempt to silence.
So, no. I refuse to go quietly into the night. I refuse to stand on the sidelines crossing my fingers that others will find the solution. I refuse to cover my eyes and wait another four years. I stand up, and I walk forward, following the path that my wiser fellow Americans have been carving out for decades already.
Together, we rise.