Side by side with some of my best friends, I attended the Women's March in New York City on January 21, 2017. For anyone who has been living under a rock, the Women's March is estimated to be the largest single protest in history, with sister marches all over the world - including Antarctica. The original march was planned for Washington, D.C., where it is estimated that over 500,000 people participated.
The night before, my friends and I had a sign-painting sleepover where they painted beautiful works of art and I kept it simple by just quoting Michael Scott.
Disclaimer: I can't force anyone who disagrees with the Women's March to magically support it. I recognize and respect the fact that I cannot change anyone's opinion. What I can do is talk about my experience and express just how positive it was.
This was my second protest in NYC - the first being the Anti-Trump protest on November 9th, following the election of Donald Trump. I hate him. He's a racist, fascist, misogynist with no regard for humanity. He is Hitler and we are living in 1934. I am not going to sugarcoat or hide my feelings about him. That being said, we live in the United States of America, where the press is free, the First Amendment exists, and you have the right to believe anything you want. Which can be annoying when the President is allowed to openly say that he grabs women by the pussy and still get elected, but is marvelous because that means things aren't quite as bad as they seem.
I marched alongside people of every possible race, gender, sexuality, religion, economic background, etc. It was the most polite protest to probably ever happen, and it was fun. That's right, marches and protests are fun. There were funny chants - "Hands too small, can't build a wall!" - and serious chants - "My body, my choice! (Her body, her choice!)" People in their twilight years juxtaposed by children in strollers. And people supporting every possible cause you can think of, from climate change to Planned Parenthood.
These are all things I believe in. I believe in climate change. I believe in safe access to LEGAL abortion. I believe in marriage equality. I believe in affordable healthcare as a basic human right. I believe in Freedom of Speech even when the speech goes against my own opinions. I believe in Freedom of the Press even when the press goes against my own opinions (looking at you Fox News). I believe in the ability of women and girls to pursue whatever career they choose regardless of their gender. I believe in the ability of women and girls to choose being a stay-at-home mom if that is what they want. I believe in intersectional feminism that includes women who don't have vaginas. I believe in feminism that does not benefit me, whether that means equal draft eligibility or eliminating the pay gap for women of color (which, by the way, is much larger than the pay gap for white women), or advocating for equal education of men, women, and children with disabilities.
When I marched, I marched for myself. I marched as a woman, a playwright, a comedian, a daughter, a fat person, an animal lover, a friend, and a fighter. I marched for my mom, a small business owner who spent my entire childhood splitting her time between running a successful business and attending to all of my needs. I marched for my grandma, who doesn't see eye-to-eye with me politically, but is still my best friend and inspiration. I marched for my fellow lady artists who continue to work tirelessly to tell stories about other women that are true, powerful, funny, heart-breaking, and engaging. I marched for my gay friends, my trans friends, my straight friends, my black friends, my Latinx friends, my Asian friends, my man friends, my woman friends, my non-binary friends. I marched for girls who don't get the chance to go to school. I marched for girls who have to miss school because they don't have access to feminine hygiene products. I marched for the women who disagree with me. I marched for Trump supporters. I marched for the people that I love who might not believe in the same things that I do, but who are every bit as worthy of happiness as everybody else.
Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I wonder how anyone could disagree with me. Sometimes I call people out on their bullshit. Sometimes I am aggressive, intense, overzealous. But, even with those things considered, I am hopeful. Please, for the love of God, talk to each other. I am equally guilty of Facebook rants and Twitter shade, but I want to have uncomfortable conversations. If the apocalypse actually does happen, all we have is the people we love, and then it won't matter if you believed in a flat tax or increased taxes for billionaires. It will matter how fast you can run, and I recently realized that I can't run that fast, so that is my new goal. But I digress.
I'm thankful for the Women's March. And regardless of your opinion on it, nothing can take away the positive memories I created that day and the sense of purpose that I felt.