There have been two times in my life when I’ve woken up in tears.
One was during my divorce, and the other was the morning after our country elected Donald Trump.
Despite my tears, my immediate gut response was to pull out my marching boots and hit the pavement.
I didn’t think I’d have many others with me, maybe a handful at most. Our country had gotten so complacent and apathetic—not enough of us voted to keep Trump out of the White House. Would everyone finally wake up?
Well, they did. I witnessed what true democracy looks like. And the spirit of it has sent shivers down my spine, put a perma-smile on my face and filled me with so much hope, I can’t contain it!
A woman from another country asked me what the point of the march was—didn’t women already have the same rights as men in the United States?
I love that she asked this, because it’s true—our ancestors and elders fought like hell for the rights women currently have in our country. But I explained:
>> Things are still not totally equal.
>> Trump’s presidency threatens to set women’s rights back about 75 years. If you look at Iran, you realize there is no time to waste. Women there went from living in a modern democracy under the Shah to being forced to wear head coverings, being unable to leave the country without their husband’s permission, being forbidden to watch sports, and having the age of eligibility to marry lowered to 9 years old when the Ayatollah came into power. And that happened nearly overnight.
The purpose of this march was to not only prevent Trump’s administration from messing with our rights, but also to stand up to him on many other issues not even related to women’s rights. The laundry list of issues we must defend is as endless as the crowd trying to fit into The Mall!
So listen closely: Keep this energy burning. Don’t go back to sleep. Keep stoking the fire.
Here are my 10 favorite moments from the march. I hope you will remember these when it feels like the fire is dwindling, and then go put another log on the fire!
1. Marching together with family, students and friends, knowing we were breaking records as part of the largest global protest in history.
3. Tiny towns where half the population protested. People protesting in the rain. In snow. And in -15 F temperatures.
4. The cops who put on pink pussy hats. You rock!
6. Cars stopped in the middle of the street unable to move. They weren’t even annoyed—they just started fist bumping as many people as possible with big grins on their faces.
7. Despite being in stand-still traffic on the highways, sardine-like conditions on the metro and at The Mall, not one person complained, pushed or shoved. There was not one arrest, and we received nothing but beaming smiles from people around us the day before, during and after the march! I wish everyday people were that united and that kind—what a world it would be!
8. Comments like these on the Waze community-based traffic and navigation app driving back from the march:
9. Even when we thought the march was over, or even when we had left the march, the city and its surrounding highways were still full of people with hats and signs, cheering and smiling.
10. The waves of pictures still coming in from sister marches around the world!
Author: Amy Ippoliti
Images: Author’s own
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina