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January 23, 2017

Do you see us President Trump? We are Here.


A photo posted by Shay Nartker (@shaynartker) on

Thank you, President Trump.

Traveling from Texas to Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March was a privilege and a history-making event for me.

Our first stop on the way to the Women’s March was the Shady Grove Metro station. There were hundreds of people in line. I found comrades from my home state of Michigan. Here we are together. I’m the Yooper on the left.

Do you see us President Trump? We are here.

In the same long line that wasn’t moving, with buses backed up, we met new friends and shared an Uber ride into the city. We will stay in touch.

Do you hear us President Trump? We are here.

We walked just a block or so to the crowds gathering for the Women’s March after our Uber driver, Laquisha, dropped us off. We greeted the police officer directing the pedestrians and braved our most frightening encounter of the day—the porta potty. Then we headed to Independence Avenue. This was what we encountered when we got to the edge of the crowds. Some of us were so moved by the numbers, we wept.

Do you see us President Trump? We are here.

This was one of the youngest among us that carried a sign, or at least tried to hold it up. Her parents and I have been texting. I got permission to use this picture and told them I write for elephant journal. We agreed to stay vigilant in maintaining a message of kindness and fierce compassion. They said they will renew their elephant journal subscription.

Do you hear us President Trump? We are here.

The day before, one of my most beloved teachers, ALisa Starkweather, called me because she knew I was flying in from Texas for the Women’s March. She was driving from Massachusetts. We had small, red clothes tied around our waists in hopes of finding one another (isn’t naivety endearing?). But once we arrived, among the other millions of marchers, with little to no cell service, I accepted that I would not see her. A couple of moments later, she and her husband, Charlie, were walking toward me. I consider it a miracle among the millions of marchers that we would “run into each other.”

Here is her beautiful banner. ALisa and I held hands and prayed together. When I turned around, my new friend Jenny had waited for me, but the other three had kept moving. We were separated but we were not alone.

Do you see us President Trump? We are here.

We spent 45 minutes crossing Independence Avenue when we heard the Mall had some porta potties. In a crowd that could barely move, a space was made for us to cross, but once on the other side we just stood on a piece of land to catch our breath because we could not get through the crowds. Jenny and I shared our food, talked about our families and shared some of our stories with each other.

We wondered when the march would start but quickly learned that the entire length of Independence Avenue was filled and the most marching we could do was to inch our way forward, turn around, and inch our way back. Finally an opening emerged and we headed to the mall. We could now move and walk. Jenny and I stayed close to each other. When we got to the mall, we saw this.

Do you see us President Trump? We are here.

Just a reminder we want your hands off our bodies.

We decided to get a cup of tea at the Starbucks on 7th Avenue. We crossed Constitution Avenue where there was finally room to march. Final count says it was the largest march in history. At Starbucks, someone had this taped to their back:

Do you hear us? Do you see us? We are here, President Trump. We are here.

 

Women have listened to insults, degrading statements and name-calling by you, President Trump, and transformed it into something beautiful, enduring and inspiring. Now it’s time for you listen to us.

We see you and we hear you and we will continue to watch what you do and listen to what you say.

Do you see us President Trump? We see you. We are watching.

Do you hear us President Trump? We hear you. We are listening.

Thank you for bringing us together. We are praying. We are watching. We are listening.

We are here.

 

~

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Author: Sally Bartolameolli

Images: Courtesy of Author, Instagram/shaynartker

Editor: Travis May

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Sally Bartolameolli