I’ve never written about political things here before and may never do so again – this just isn’t that kind of blog. However, it’s starting to feel like just living a normal life is political these days, and even as an introvert and general chill person, I am feeling fired up and like there is a LOT of work for me to do.
So let it be said here that since the election I have felt terrified, angry, depressed, more angry, and hopeless at various instances. I’ve called reps and senators, written letters, and signed petitions. I’ve started monthly donations to organizations that need support now more than ever. But there is still so much to do.
Walking The Walk
So, on Saturday, Anna and I along with my mom, dad, and a few friends and neighbors headed to downtown LA to participate in the Women’s March on Washington’s Los Angeles sister march. From the very start we knew it was going to be a huge event. The lines to fill up a Tap card were snaking through the entire parking garage for the metro Gold line. Luckily, ours were already loaded.
When we got on the train, it was already crowded with people all headed downtown. By the time we got to Pasadena, the train was so crowded that no more people could get on. We rolled through station after station where there were enormous crowds of people waiting to get on the train, sporting pink hats and signs and “The Future Is Female” shirts.
When we reached Union Station, we joined an enormous and steady stream of people all walking down toward Pershing Square. Cars honked at us in support and we cheered as we walked. It was already so crowded, and the crowd so excited, that it felt like the march had already begun. Anna and I both felt more hopeful in that crowd than we have in months.
When we reached the general area of Pershing Square, we couldn’t even reach the square because of the press of the crowds. We hung out for a bit at Hill St and 5th, and then around 10 AM we began walking toward City Hall.
I can’t begin to describe to you the feeling of being in that crowd. There were old people, babies, kids with hand-drawn signs, teenagers (my mother ran into one of her students), people of all colors and persuasions. Anna and I, because we’re attuned to it I suppose, noticed a number of lesbian families, which is always uplifting for us to see. It was amazing. There were some food and water stands, and a Sikh organization was giving out free food, which smelled delectable (but we weren’t close enough to get any).
When we reached the next intersection, we looked over to our left and realized that not only was Broadway completely packed as we walked up it, but Hill St was just as crowded with marchers going the same direction.
When we reached City Hall, the crowd was incredible. There just wasn’t any open space to be seen anywhere on the surrounding streets and lawns and sidewalks, it was completely filled with marchers. We later learned that 750,000 people attended the march in LA, and there wasn’t a single arrest. Indeed, the crowd was fired up, excited, passionate, but peaceful.
We heard a few speakers there, including the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. It was nice to hear the mayor of our city speak out so passionately about what we believe in – equality, inclusiveness, and justice for all.
When we finally headed home, there were still streams of people arriving at from the train station to the march.
Work To Do
I’m elated to see that not only in LA do people agree with our anger and alarm at the direction our country is heading, but we are supported by sisters and brother around the world as well. However, I fear that too many people will feel the work is done now that we have marched.
The march was the kick-off event. This is when our work starts.
I’ve been thinking about this ever since we got home from the march on Saturday. Some things still trouble me. The fact that the majority of white women, my demographic, voted for He Who Shall Not Be Named is deeply troubling. This problem is on me, and I know it, and I felt the weight of that guilt on Saturday as I marched alongside my brothers and sisters of different races and ethnicities and my immigrant brothers and sisters.
I’m the privileged daughter of a white man. I will never know the struggle of fighting against systemic racism for my whole life. Sure I’m a woman and I’m queer and those are struggles too, but as a white woman I still have it so much easier than others in this country. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the truth, and in truth there is strength.
So I realized it’s time to step up as an ally. We have to be intersectional if we are to be successful. The LGBTQ community has to be an ally to the Muslim community. The feminist community has to allow its POC members to speak the loudest. The feminist community also has to acknowledge not just its cisters, but all of its sisters (totally stole that from a great poster I saw). We white ladies need to sit the fuck down and listen to our POC compatriots.
You’ll see me at the next BLM march, the next anti-Islamophobia event, the next anti-deportation rally. It’s time for us to step up.