It took me a week to finish this short reflection on the Women's March (having two small children does not leave a lot of time for quiet journaling), and week one of Trump's presidency has only made me more glad that I marched last Saturday. I marched to stand up for women, immigrants, refugees, people of color, Muslims and others who feel targeted for their faith, people with disabilities, and for human rights. I recognize that I am a person with privilege, and so it is important to me to stand up for those who feel marginalized. In his first week in office, Trump passed executive orders that are harmful to women, Native Americans, immigrants, Muslims, refugees, and the environment. Not only are many of his executive orders inhumane, but they do not address the root cause of what he is trying to "fix." This march is one of many actions I will take to continue to stand up for what I believe in.
"Here's to strong women.
May we be them.
May we know them.
May we raise them."
The rain began to fall on what the forecast predicted would be a clear day. Thousands of people filled the streets of downtown San Diego waiting for the march to begin. My three month old daughter was strapped to my chest and my son was literally running in circles around me, refusing to sit in the stroller. We continuously glanced at our watches, seeing the minutes slowly tick by as the march started almost an hour later than was planned, which in toddler time seems like an eternity. We worried that we had made the wrong decision in packing up our two young kids to stand with us for causes we deeply believe in, but with all of the chaos and craziness, I think it is important for us as a family to show up for others and have that be a part of our family culture, which we are creating now even if our kids don't fully understand. In this season of life, the main way I am using my gifts in the world is by raising two tiny little humans, keeping them alive, doing my best to teach my toddler kindness, and trying to survive sleep deprivation. I don't have a lot of space in my life to give to others in ways that I have in the past, which saddens me, but I will keep standing up for what I believe, the best I can with these two kids by my side.
1) Being a part of history. As a student and teacher of history, I have studied and celebrated social movements. I think we romanticize social movements of the past. It's too easy for me to look back and think, of course I would have been a part of the abolitionist movement or the women's suffrage movement or the civil rights movement or the anti-Vietnam War movement without looking at society today and seeing how I can get involved in making change. During the Women's March, I got to be a part of history being made.
2) Standing together. Seeing so many people come together throughout the world to stand up for themselves and each other is inspiring. Grassroots change making feels beautiful and empowering in a way that a government official passing a law does not (although both are important). At the march, the energy and positivity were palpable. What transforms people's hearts and minds is community, and there was such a strong sense of that at the march.
3) Community. I marched with a group of people from my church. A few years ago, I was at a place where I was resigned to the idea that I would never attend church again, because I was unwilling to go to a church that didn't fully embrace LGBT people or women. I simply would not go to a church that limited the involvement of LGBT people or women in any capacity. Further, I never thought I would find a church that preaches about social justice topics like race and feminism and nonviolence. To my surprise, I now belong to a beautiful church community that not only believes in these things, but is willing to stand up when it matters, and on Saturday, we marched together.
4) Family. I hope to raise my children as involved, aware, compassionate global citizens. I hope that they will stand up for themselves and others, that they will stand up for those in society who are marginalized. Gandhi said, "If we are to teach real peace in this world... we shall have to begin with the children." I will teach my children about peace and nonviolence, which was why taking them to the march with me was important. Maybe one day when they look back at the photos, seeing their parents stand up for what we believe in will help them want to stand up, too.
5) It is just a starting point. One thing this election reminded me of is the importance of being involved in our democracy, so this march is only one way I hope to be more engaged in the coming weeks and months and years.