I remember as a little girl always wondering why they had a Million Man March on Washington and never a Women’s March on Washington. When I finally saw that a Women’s March on Washington could possibly be happening, there was no question I was going! Initially, it did not garner much attention. I thought it would be something small and confined, nonetheless necessary and long overdue. Which, to be honest, reminds me of the way a woman’s voice has been throughout history, confined, if even given the chance to be heard at all. As the months went by, and the word got out, the number of people estimated to attend grew. But regardless of how many people were going, I knew I would be in the number.
On the morning of the March, I was anxious. I had no idea what to expect. I met up with a friend and we drove over to the Metro and made our way through the crowd. There were already massive lines in the Metro to pay for the train and then another long wait to actually get on the train. Hundreds of ladies, some with husbands, friends, and children were ready for the big event. I guess you can say the Women’s March started in the Washington DC Metro Station! Ladies were harmoniously chanting, holding up their handmade signs as we followed behind each other waiting almost an hour to just get up the escalator. Despite the large crowd, there was no pushing. Everyone was courteous, respectful, and eager to get to the streets of Washington DC.
While standing in line to get out of the train station, an older woman and her husband started talking to us. She said how proud she was of us and the rest of the younger generation for our tenacity and boldness to stand up for what we believed in. I thought she might cry. If she had, I would have gladly offered her my shoulder.
I marched for women across the world who are shamed, persecuted for their beliefs, even murdered for choosing to speak up.
As we finally made our way into the actual March, it was packed! The feeling was so intense it gave me chills! So many women from all over. There were different ethnicities and backgrounds represented. And there were even men holding up their own signs in support of women’s rights. It was beautiful to see. We literally inched our way as close to the front as possible with a lot of “excuse me”, “sorry”, “excuse me”. I lost count of how many times I accidentally stepped on the backs of someone shoes. Despite our efforts, the crowd was so large there really was nowhere to move. So we stayed put for a while until our elbows grew tired of being pinned to our sides and we made our way to another section, or street.
In addition to the sounds of the songs and chants, there was a feeling of freedom and liberation in the air. A freedom from women being told we are too loud or have too much attitude. A freedom to finally shout “We were here and we were not going anywhere!”.
I marched for the overburdened, over worked, and under-appreciated women.
Each woman had their own reason for being in the crowd. Mine? I marched for my grandmothers, my mother who raised me to be strong yet humble, my tight knit circle of friends. For all the times that women were told to be quiet, belittled, and disrespected for just for being a woman, being smart, independent, and ferocious. I marched because the strength of a woman is often misunderstood, feared, and made to succumb to other people’s insecurities. I marched for all the times we made our presence small so others could feel big. I marched for women across the world who are shamed, persecuted for their beliefs, even murdered for choosing to speak up. I marched for the overburdened, over worked, and under-appreciated women. I marched for all the Queens who have allowed their crowns to become contaminated by doubt and low self-esteem. That is why I was there. I marched for all the times I wondered as a little girl why there was never a Women’s March on Washington. Little did I know, there were millions of other women, little girls asking the same question, but only a handful who were proactive enough to bring it to fruition, growing that handful to millions.
I marched for all the Queens who have allowed their crowns to become contaminated by doubt and low self-esteem.
Attending the Women’s March was a profound and deeply humbling experience that will forever be ingrained in my soul, my mind, my heart and my thighs (that were left burning after it was all done). But it was a burning that I welcomed, a gratifying ache that has left me wanting to do more and be more.