On January 21, 2017, I marched in Los Angeles as part of the Women’s March on Washington protesting Donald Trump’s presidency. In sister marches around the world, between 3 and 5 million people protested that day.
Crowd estimates for the Los Angeles march range from 200,000 to 750,000. The most recent estimate is 350,000. There were so many people, the police shut down the streets surrounding the original route to accommodate the overflow. My friends and I got downtown at 8:45 a.m. For over an hour, we barely moved from our original spot, there were so many people around us. Two hours after our arrival, we finally started our slow crawl to the civic center–a mere mile away–and didn’t make it there until noon.
But none of that mattered. There was joy at this event. There was camaraderie. Los Angeles is a city where people don’t often see each other on the streets, much less speak to each other. So it was amazing to be downtown in a crowd where people cheerfully made way when a stroller or a wheelchair needed to get through the throngs; where people shared extra pink pussy caps and buttons made especially for the march; where strangers posed for pictures with each other and walked arm-in-arm a few blocks together. It was the most polite, kind, determined crowd I’ve ever been part of. It’s what resistance should look like.
We didn’t know it while we were marching in Los Angeles, but in DC, the March on Washington had spawned its own anthem, “I Can’t Keep Quiet,” by singer MILCK. After rehearsing online, she, the GW Sirens, and Capital Blend–who met IRL in DC for the first time–performed the anthem at the Washington March and then on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. It’s a song that makes me think, that makes me feel, that inspires me to remember, No, I can’t keep quiet. Not about the changes being thrust into place by this new administration, changes that threaten the fundamental beliefs that define our country.
So why did I march?
As a writer, I marched to defend the right to state opinions loudly, clearly, precisely, no matter how dissident those opinions might be.
As a citizen, I marched to demand equality for people of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation.
As a feminist, I marched to defend women’s rights to control their bodies and care for them as they see fit.
As a nature lover, I marched to protect an environment threatened by climate change.
As a mother, I marched to demonstrate to my son that hope still exists, that protest matters, that resistance is essential to preserve our ideals.
As a human being, I marched for facts, fairness, justice, equality–everything our country always has and should continue to stand for.[bctt tweet=”#WhyIMarched For facts, fairness, equality, justice.” username=”colettesartor”]
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Great action, Colette!