Yesterday morning I woke up at 3am. I barely slept (though my fiancee will tell you I slept just fine). It was the kind of sleep you get as a kid Christmas Eve. You’re asleep but all of your senses are awake. The excitement and nervousness about what the next day will bring runs through your veins. My sister met us at our place before heading off for our Rallybus meetup that was to happen at 4:36am precisely.
Our bus was filled to capacity (maybe a seat or two was empty, but they were no-shows). It was dark and chilly out and most of us were half asleep as we settled into our seats to prepare for the 3-4 hour drive to D.C.
I don’t know what I was expecting when we arrived at RFK Stadium. I knew it was going to be a big event…but I had no idea it was going to be as big as it was. As our bus maneuvered through throngs of women, men, and children…many with their bright pink hand knitted “pussy” hats securely on their heads, I began to see just how big this was going to be.
This was just the crowd leaving the bus drop off! This wasn’t the throngs that flew in, or those who made the drive themselves, or those who took a metro in. This was just the tiniest portion of what we were about to be a part of. There’s something completely invigorating to see people joining together for the same cause…the same idea! There’s a certain truth about the energy one feels that can move between us when we are all of the same mind. It’s similar to the kind of energy I feel when sitting in a dark theatre embarking on the same journey with others. It’s a helluva a ride.
We continued to flow into the city, some chose to metro in from RFK. Some of us chose to walk the distance. We chose to walk. This ended up being a mistake in the end because it prevented us from arriving on the proper side of the stage where performers and speakers would rally all of us up with inspiring speeches and songs. Organizers did not inform of closed off areas so we moved sluggishly, like a herd of cattle, with no real direction of where we should go next. We just followed the flow until we started to see the flow coming back towards us due to another blockade. We were stuffed in tight, shuffling along, chests to backs, and shoulder to shoulder.
Regardless of my intermittent bouts with anxiety due to the amount of people and knowing I could not escape even if I had to, the experience was amazing.
After a few hours of fighting our way back towards the National Mall, we found some breathing room. It lasted about 20 minutes because then more and more people began to flood into the area.
After trying to figure out where we were to go, we eventually decided it was best to head out and look for lunch. Which we did. We live streamed the event and caught up on what was happening. We found out that way more people attended than was expected, hence the mass confusion and the inability to actually march. At one point they temporarily halted the march because there were so many people…they couldn’t move them to create a march!
The best part of all of this, of all these amazing people coming together, and all of us were tired, frustrated, hungry…not one arrest was made. There wasn’t a single report of any act of violence or destruction of property. Aside from some not understanding why we weren’t moving…most of us were happy and celebrating women of all walks of life. Wanting to fiercely protect what we have, what we may lose…for all women across the board.
The journey back to the bus was fairly uneventful. The Metro did a wonderful job with such a large influx of people.
A blurry pic, but you can see the large amount of us exiting the metro!
I had a lot to take away from this event. But, hands down, the best picture I took with my little iPhone was this:
Our children are so important to protect in these uncertain times. We need to show them the way out of this is with love and compassion for our fellow human beings. It is to show them solidarity with those that are less fortunate than us. It is to teach them that regardless of their biological sex, gender-identity, sexual identification, race, religion, or socioeconomic status…they have value. They are loved. They are wanted. They are needed.
Then they will turn around and show that other child, the one that has been denied by their family for coming out as gay or transgender, they are perfect the way they are.
They will turn around and show that other child, the one that is being harassed for being anything but white or anything but Christian, that they are perfect the way they are.
They will speak up for someone being bullied, they’ll step in when they see someone being sexually assaulted. Why? Because they see the value in those who are told they aren’t worth anything but hate.
These future generations that sit on the shoulders of their mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and siblings… they will see from greater heights what it means to be part of a movement designed to empower the marginalized. To help our fellow citizens up when they need that hand. They’ll look them in the eye and say, “I see you.” Then work to make sure that person isn’t left behind.
These future generations will be built up with a strength and a confidence, about what is right and what is wrong, that hate simply cannot fight against.