I felt electricity and excitement all week as I readied myself for the Women’s March-LA. Deciding to attend the moment I heard about it in November, I’ve had a growing surge of energy in my heart. Friday night as I was getting my stuff together, I was wired and couldn’t pull myself toward the necessary call of sleep. Reminding myself at 1 am that it would be an early, bustling, busy day, I finally went to bed.
Waking early for the march, I double checked the transportation routes to Pershing Square. I spoke to my dad on the drive down and he reminded me to “keep my wits about me,” a piece of advice he’s literally said since I was a kid. He wasn’t joking, however. Anytime there are large crowds in densely populated areas, he worries, and with the trend of terrorist events in the world for the past decade, he had every right to remind and warn. He also asked if there’d be a hundred thousand people there. I replied that I suspected there might be a million. I was serious. (We ended up with about 750,000 participants!)
Turns out, I wasn’t kidding. Getting to the LA Metro in the San Fernando Valley wasn’t only my bright idea. So many other people had the same game plan, so we kept going to the next stop. Seeing people of all ages wearing the now infamous pink hats stream into the station was the first indicator that the day would be magical. Witnessing mothers and fathers with their small children, multi-generations and teenagers waiting in the ticketing line felt perfect.
I choked back tears a hundred times seeing mothers wearing their babies, seeing teenagers in groups looking eager and wide-eyed, seeing women in their 70s holding signs saying “Still Marching.” I felt unified and peaceful as soon as I descended into the underground metro station and heard mobs of people cheering. When someone called out that the trains were free, it felt so right! (I don’t know if LA Metro truly made the day free, but everyone was happy to enjoy access and free turnstiles!) The energy felt so hopeful and we all had the same cause!
We finally made it to the Pershing Square exit and gradually inched above ground. Immediately, I heard Beyoncé’s voice blasting from speakers in a high rise and saw people dancing in the streets. Looking up, there were people displaying banners and posters from their large windows and clapping, cheering and dancing with the street marchers. It felt mobbed, but I felt safe, happy and buzzing. The crowd slithered along slowly, and we fell in line. I ran into some old friends throughout the morning and met up with my friend, Sasha, an activist-feminist-mermaid-goddess. We high-fived marchers with amazing signs and felt a general sense of togetherness all day. We also had a discussion with my friend Jonesy, who I want to commend for going to the march alone. He works at an all-boys school and is also a football referee (he had to ref a game after the march. Think about those polarities). I’m impressed and honored he was there. We talked about the difference between the concepts of feminism and humanism and learned this:
Humanism is a branch of philosophy and ethics that advocates for equality, tolerance and secularism. … Humanism and Egalitarianism are important intellectual movements whose philosophies inform Feminism as well as global human rights legislation. But Feminism is the only movement actively advocating for gender equality.
For me, the march was all about doing something that helps create our present. I wasn’t marching to make history; I marched to be united with people. Last week I attended a goddess gathering retreat (will try to write about that soon) and this march was like a red thread that continued the momentum. I felt a bond with the “ReSisters” and people who care about health care, the environment, getting our voices heard, women’s rights, human rights, and bettering the world. The sun shone on Los Angeles and sparkled with pink hats, neon signs, and strong people who want their voices heard, even the introverts.
I’ve read some Facebook accounts of why people marched. It comes down to this for me: I’m reminded of and united with other people who feel similarly. I’m not alone in my beliefs or values for my country or our world. Seeing the enormity of this march and realizing just how many other people expressed themselves by making signs, marching, and supporting makes me feel safer in the world. I don’t know if these numbers of people who showed up to march will have an impact on legislative policy, but I do believe so many more people are awake now. Now that’s important! Here’s how you can get involved with 10 actions in the next 100 days.
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Some signs that caught my attention