Oceans of Pink
Pink hats, handmade signs, the sun straining through an overcast sky, and the collective buzz, excitement and hope of women united. These are some of the images and feelings from my experience at the Women’s March on Washington that I will never forget. This historic event changed my life and, for many citizens of the world, redefined the relationship between our beliefs and the actions we are willing to take to support them.
As we made our way through D.C.’s brownstone-lined neighborhoods, I felt an underlying nervousness considering some of the worst case scenarios that could potentially occur. We passed the steps of the capitol building en route to the march rendezvous point and people poured in on all sides. My friends and I stood and soaked in the sight of the gathering crowds, and anxiety began to melt into gratitude. Grandmothers in wheelchairs, moms and children and a surprising number of men marched along with us - with no sense of patriarchy or self-sacrifice, but as true equals and allies.
Fear evaporated when I looked around and let my heart be filled with love for the diverse ocean of fellow Americans coming together, to support each other with compassion, to bear witness and to unapologetically raise their voices for freedom, equality, and respect for all. There are no words for the power of the experience - shoulder-to-shoulder in a crowd larger than I had ever seen or even imagined, standing united for their values and love of humanity.
History has its eyes on you
"History has its eyes on you" read one sign, carried by a man passing by. I stopped him for a photo and he beamed with joy and pride in this message. This is why we marched.
"Misogyny is not normal" read another sign. How interesting the relief it was to have this basic value expressed so clearly, publicly and affirmatively. We trekked our way through the thick crowd to a spot where we were able to stand on a low wall and view the jumbotron showing the stage from which the presenters were speaking. The messages weren’t new, but they were powerful in their simplicity. Cheers of support erupted through the enormous crowd – “Women’s rights are human rights.” “Black lives matter.” “We will never give up.” It is amazing, the power in hearing your deepest truths declared aloud, no matter how many times you’ve thought them before.
My eyes filled with tears over and over again as I looked in all directions at the size of the crowd we were part of. I welled up with emotion (and still do) – not because I was inconsolable that my candidate wasn’t victorious in a presidential race, but because, by being part of this event, I know I am contributing to a permanent legacy. I am part of history. My human family was gathered around me in solidarity for the equality issues I’ve been blogging and speaking about for so many years, often wondering how many others out there cared as deeply as me.
We didn’t find out until returning from the march for the evening that similar events were happening all around the world. Over 5 Million people marched world wide – over 1 Million in Washington DC! There are no words to express how it felt to see and know we're not alone. It was clear on this day that feminism isn't an extreme agenda driven by fanatics. The feminist values I’ve been fighting for all these years are about equality, social justice and progressing into a brighter future for all humanity.
We will not “get over it”
For those that might not understand where we’re coming from – for me, the march wasn’t a complaint or part of an angry political agenda. It wasn’t about an inability to cope with change, a lack of adaptability or acceptance of reality. It was a fulfillment of my duty as an American and a human who believes certain inalienable rights and core values that I hold dear to my heart do matter.
Just as suffragists fighting for women’s right to vote didn’t get over it, and civil rights leaders struggling relentlessly for desegregation didn’t get over it – we will not “get over” the issues that were central to that event.
I see it as our duty as members of the human race to work for equality. If you haven't been assaulted, or discriminated against for the color of your skin, your religion, your sexuality or your gender – then you’re fortunate, and I am glad you haven’t suffered in this way. I believe that whether or not you’ve been personally affected by these injustices, it’s all of our responsibility to make sure nobody else has to go through them.
If you were part of the Women’s March - even if only in spirit - don't let anyone minimize it. This is the dawning of a new era of alert minds, compassionate perspectives and global action.
On Inauguration Day
Prior to the march, driving from Boston to Washington D.C. with a car full of friends (including Barre & Soul's Chief Amazement Officer, Crissy and our Yoga Teacher Training Director, Carrie), we felt a somber occasion was unfolding. At the same time, we talked about how grateful we remained - for America and all the freedoms and opportunities we have here. Carrie had just returned from a volunteer medical trip to a country decimated by disaster and lacking infrastructure and the supports we enjoy and too often take for granted in the US.
She reflected on the reality there - lack of roads, safety, clean water, and essential medical care for many citizens. Following the Women’s March, I’m more aware than ever of how great America IS today. And how crucial it is that we stay vigilant about the elements of greatness that matter most to us – equality, safety, freedom, diversity, and opportunity for all.
Within American culture, and in spite of a highly evolved system of government and justice, many women still can't achieve their highest potential. We have come a long, long way, but we can’t allow ourselves to forget what propelled our progress.
Don’t stop striving. Appreciate the things others before us have fought hard for. Keep raising your voice for equality and for the freedoms that for so many have not yet been realized.
Thank you to everyone who has joined this movement. We may not see the the end of this fight in our lifetimes. Keep fighting anyway.