By Laena Wilder (San Francisco) and Judy Brackett (Washington, D.C.)
“I am marching to do my part in addressing the wounds of my country. As I have been thinking about the values we hold most dear in this nation, it is becoming increasingly clear there are people who have been left behind and not included in those values since the beginning of our nation’s history. So before we can come together and unify in any real way we have to address that. I recently learned that I’m distantly related to one of the signers of the Constitution which I guess technically makes me a Daughter of the American Revolution. I wanted to riff on that and claim my part to atone for some of the harm that early colonists did to the people who already lived here. I think our history of the treatment of the Native American peoples of North America is really shameful. And it’s not that the people alive today are at fault or guilty but we are responsible for making it right so that is why I included the quote by Abraham Joshua Herschel, ‘Few are guilty but all are responsible.’ I think it’s not about blaming anyone it’s about really walking our talk and aligning our actions and how we treat each other with these values.”
Lucy, San Francisco
Photo: Laena Wilder
On January 21, 2017, hundreds of thousands made our way to Washington, D.C., from everywhere. We stood and listened and marched that chilly gray day, a glorious mishmash of people—many in wheelchairs, babies in slings, toddlers on shoulders, kids holding tight to moms’ and dads’ hands, pink-cheeked teens in pink pussyhats, boys and men, too, and all of us seemingly moved simultaneously by anger, frustration, yet also joy and hope, even a fervent patriotism.
There were waves of pink hats and homemade placards and banners, profane and profound:
Girls just want to have FUNdamental rights.
Respect existence or expect resistance.
Tweet women with respect.
You’ll never overcomb the Constitution.
We are the wall and Trump is going to pay.
“Thou shalt not mess with women’s rights.” — Fallopians 3:24
Mine eyes have seen the glory of women’s rage.
None of this matters if we destroy our home.
Down with the climate change deniers!
Dumbledore wouldn’t let this happen.
Can’t believe I’m still protesting this same shit.
A woman’s place is in the resistance.
Now you’ve pissed off Gammie!
I can’t breathe…Say their names—Eric, Trayvon, Sandra, Dondre, Jordan…
Mid-march, we stopped off at the National Archives to have a look at the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and scanned the compelling words written and signed in elegant script two-hundred-plus years ago—not one woman’s name on those documents, yet they promise the freedoms we marched for and will work for, the freedoms we demand for our children and grandchildren, for our wounded country.
We ended the day on the National Mall after dark, walking along the Ellipse where thousands propped their signs along the fence, and stood in silence taking in the barricaded White House across Pennsylvania Avenue, the People’s House.
We took a couple of extra days to visit other sites—the Newseum, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, and the Holocaust Memorial Museum (with its unsettling reminder of what happens when good people avert their eyes and their hearts, when tyrants are appeased).
Pink hats and signs were everywhere, including one that read “We marched…now what?”