I wasn't sure what to expect as we drove to Helena, Montana to join ten thousand other people in out state's expression of the Women's March. To be honest, I feared violence.
But the Women's March on our state's capital proved to be peaceful. The energy felt uplifted, even in the frigid temperatures. There weren't just women there, either. Men and boys with signs aloft "got in formation" next to women and girls. Poster boards ranged in concerns and needs expressed: from advocating access to women's health care as a fundamental human right, to trumpeting the urgency of climate change.
There were posters promoting equality for the LGBTQIA community, and signs with arrows pointing every which way expressing solidarity: "I'm with Her." And sure, there were plenty of anti-Trump posters as well. But the march wasn't just in opposition to our new President, though many of the things he said in his campaign prompted the march. (See: pussy grabbing comment, et al..)
To me, the march was about people coming together to express unity against hate. It was a march organized by women, and in many ways for women--but it was also a place for people of any gender to demonstrate their commitment to equality for all. Gay, Muslim, Jew, Mexican, transgender, woman, man, child, concerned earthling: the umbrella we all gathered under grew as large as it needed to. We were there to resist bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, and any other form of oppression that is born from hate, fear, and ignorance.
Being at the Women's March reminded me in a BIG way that millions of Americans--indeed, millions of people around the world--do not and will not tolerate political policies that deny basic human rights to anyone. These rights include health care, education, the freedom to love who you love, security, and basic human decency.
Before the actual walk to the capital began, I asked some people what brought them to the march. Here's what they had to say.
Thank you to everyone who marched on Saturday, and for all who expressed solidarity if they were unable to attend. The Women's March provided a space for the community to come together and say, "We're better than hate."
We all witnessed this weekend that the human capacity for love is YUGE -- and we will continue to march for our rights and those of others, no matter how "other" that person may seem. We're all pink, after all, under the skin.
To "keep marching" forward with deliberate action, here's the Women's March website with "10 Actions in 100 Days."