When we were all together that day, it seemed that although Donald Trump had just been sworn in as president, it was somehow going to be alright. We knew that at some point we were going to have to break up and head homeward, but we hung on to each other for as long as we could.
This was an outpouring of women, men, and children. We marched to reclaim the moral heart of this nation. We marched to show that whatever had happened the day before was not going to stop the flood, this overflow of bodies creating new channels and spreading out over the streets and taking over the city, and doing it peacefully, joyfully, and without rancor or violence. We knew we were there to reject with our bodies and our souls the ascension of hate and division, the demonization of our Muslim sisters and brothers and to “demand an end to the systematic murder and incarceration of our black brothers and sisters, not give up rights to safe and legal reproductive choice, not ask our LGBT families to go backwards. Not going to go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance....”
Everyone in the crowd knew this one thing: we are, every single one of us, under attack. And everyone understood that we are the only ones who can protect each other. In the course of the day, something took hold of us. Maybe for the first time in many of our lives, we actually felt these words: We Are the People. No longer were they empty words spoken in school plays in the haze of childhood. Once that transformation seeped into our bones, the next step was inevitable: we have people power, and we can use it.
Gloria Steinem spoke of “the upside of the downside: the biggest turnout for democracy than I have ever seen. If you force Muslims to register, we will all register. We will not be quiet, we will not be controlled. We will continue to work for a world where we are all connected. God may be in the details, but the Goddess is in the connections.”
But for me, it was J. Bob Alotta, the Executive Director of Astraea, Lesbian Foundation for Justice who said it all. After asking “What do you need with a big ole queer like me?” to laughs and cheers, she told us what we needed: “I think it is to talk about radical love. To stand here on this stage right now and proclaim my commitment to love in the most radically honest way possible. For you all right now, to commit to doing so. Let me queer our collective notion of love right now, so that every one of us will step past the easy, the scripted, the societally sanctioned, the familiar, the safe notions of love, and let us choose the pathway to not only the greatest possibility but the greatest reward. We are fantastic and fabulous and this is only the beginning. No, this is not a one off. This? Is an Uprising of Love. WE are an uprising of love. Choose it. Everyday.”
She made queer a verb. She made me proud.
In the end we were all proud to be there and to be among Donald Trump’s worst nightmares.
We knew we weren’t going to allow him to take us backward.
We knew that this march was just one of over 600 Sister Marches across 60 countries, that the beginning of the revival of the woman’s movement was now. We knew that I am my sister’s keeper.
The Women’s March on Washington made me believe that when we come together collectively we can change the world. Now is the time for all of us to get to work, to be radical, and and to be courageous.