It was an incredible, en-heartening, and vibrant day. Also exhausting.
That first photo is the group of women from my carpool. All of us in hats are teachers at my school, and the young woman in her headband is one of the students.
1. The celebrity folks were wonderful, and many of them were really experienced in keeping the energy going, but I wish there had been more time for some of the quieter voices. I got a teensy bit huffy that the rally had some men (albeit very articulate and inspiring men like Michael Moore and Van Jones) front-loaded into the early part of the rally, and then by the time the Indigenous woman got up to speak about water, everyone was already tired of listening.
2. I wish there had been more indigenous voices, more word from Standing Rock.
3. I have nothing against strong language at strong moments, but Madonna actually had some really good things to say about tyranny and freedom, but she dropped the F-bomb, and suddenly no one in the press could remember anything else she said. Sigh.
4. It was a real pleasure to hear Climbing Poetree live. And Angela Davis. And Gloria Steinem. And Maxine Waters. And Ashley Judd. And Alicia Keys. And Madonna. Janelle Monae was also really great. “Say her name!”
5. People were all friends yesterday. The invisible veils between strangers are broken down when you’re marching together. People start up conversations with each other as though they’ve known each other all their lives.
6. The crowd was big. Really big. I had very few moments of claustrophobic anxiety, and no sense of panic. This was the tightest crowd I have ever been in. We shuffled ourselves into the streets for the rally, and then when it was time to move, we simply couldn’t go anywhere, we were so tightly packed. Amazing!
7. The hats. Early in the day, before we got to the metro, a woman in another group that met at our rendezvous point asked one of us about the hats. My friend explained that they’re a response to the tape of Mr. Trump bragging about sexual assault, and that many people call them pussy hats. The woman began to weep. My friend made sure that the woman’s friends were taking care of her, and we went on to the march, but my hat suddenly took on a much more pointed meaning. It was no longer simply a symbol of defiance of a misogynist sexual predator in high office, but a statement of support for women who have survived sexual assault. It’s a message to predators that women’s silence will no longer protect them.
8. I am tired (happy tired). Wiped out. Standing in one place for four hours may be as hard on the muscles as walking for four hours. It was helpful to keep stretching. Even that was difficult with all those people packed around us. (All those people!)
9. Last Friday, a group of mostly young women led our chapel remembrance of Martin Luther King at school. Yesterday, I marched for the young women I teach, keeping in mind that group of young women of color in particular, women who are feeling the power of their voices rising within them, women with a passion for racial justice, women who will lead this movement into the future.
The future is in good hands. I’m with her and her and her and her. . .