The Women's March: Today Is The First Day I Felt Hopeful

Photo: courtesy of the author
women's march

My daughters understood this was bigger than all of us.

Rolling up to the stop light in front of the local mall, hundreds of women’s voices made it through the car windows as one single, strong voice: "Love Trumps Hate! Love Trumps Hate!"

My twin 8-year-old girls got excited and rolled down their windows, shaking their fists and yelling along with the crowd.

"I don’t want to go to the playground anymore, mommy," one said. "Let’s stay here the whole time!"

And stay, we did. We marched. We shouted. We stood united with more than 1,000 others spanning the three blocks in front of the mall, on either side of the busy five-lane street.

"We thought we would just do a little thing so that people who couldn’t get to D.C. would have something to do," said Candi Churchill, an organizer with National Women’s Liberation. "Since seven busloads left for Washington, we didn’t think we’d have many show up. We were so wrong."

NWL expected about 300 people to show up at their picket in front of the Hobby Lobby. The outpouring of support from women of all ages, children, and dozens of men overwhelmed them in the best possible way.

For the first time since I made the reluctant decision to stay home from the Women’s March, I felt happy about it. My voice was needed even more here, in my red state, amid my red neighbors, and on the red streets of north central Florida.

Surrounded by signs calling for women’s rights, an end to racism and bigotry, and a change in the way we govern, I felt connected to my community in a way that I lost when I started seeing those Trump/Pence signs pop up all over my area.

"I’m a big believer in acting locally,” fellow marcher Kristen Young said. "I can change things on a local level, just me, one person. My president may not know who I am. My senator may not know who I am. But my Mayor and my Council Members know me, and I can work with them to make change."

We have to remember that this isn’t just a one-time event. We can’t allow our anger to surge up, then dissipate. We must work for a sustained resistance that lasts and continues throughout the next four years.

I knew I had to teach that to my daughters because it’s their lives which are affected by this. It’s their future at stake.

I couldn’t do that alone in D.C.

But, as I watched my daughter being handed a loud speaker, as I listened to her shout "This is what democracy looks like!", I knew she was learning what being an active citizen really means.

When the girls excitedly took my hand and dragged me up and down the half-mile of people standing and chanting at passing traffic, I knew they understood that this was bigger than all of us.

We must do what we can, when we can, and we must teach our children the same. To be able to take part in one of hundreds of local marches going on around the country gave my kids a civics lesson they’ll never forget.

They saw today that women stand together and that people have the right to assemble, to fight for their rights.

From Kenya to Ireland, from San Francisco to Chicago, from Spain to Finland, from New York City to Los Angeles: the world marched today.

And my daughters and I took part in a march not in Gainesville, Florida, but in a global reckoning heard on every corner of the Earth.

This is what democracy looks like.