disclaimer: see past posts for my religious and spiritual views. i am a christian, and i believe in love, in compassion, in personal liberty, and in equality. there is nothing horrible about that.
21 january 2017: the day that history was made – that i was a part of!
673 marches around the world. places from around the globe marched today in support of us, of our rights, and of their rights. this is exactly what standing together means.
i attended the march in atlanta, my city and my beautiful hometown. it was rainy and quite cold this morning, and to be honest, all i wanted to do was stay in bed with a book and listen to the rain.
i am so, from the bottom of my heart, glad that i didn’t.
i believe strongly in the saying “power to the peaceful.” in my opinion, violence does not solve problems. it may seem to do so, but will eventually cause further issues.
i arrived in downtown atlanta for the march a few hours before it was set to begin. everyone i met was a beacon of light and of hope. everyone was positive, everyone was inspired, and everyone was empowered. as the march began, a panel of speakers gave speeches in front of the 60,000 of us (only 10,000 were predicted), and let me tell you, they left me feeling so inspired. diverse speakers gave diverse anecdotes. i do believe that the most memorable one was from a muslim woman. she said something along the lines of:
“i am a woman. i am a muslim. i am a lesbian. i am an immigrant. i work with refugees. you could say i hit the jackpot. and i have hit the jackpot: i live in america. i can vote, i can practice my religion, i can legally marry who i want, and i can protest without being thrown in jail. do not take these rights for granted.”
she is so right. we were all so caught up in protesting that we forgot that what we were truly protesting is against these rights (and others of the sort) being taken away; NOT to simply have those rights. some of our sisters and brothers in other countries, some who even marched today, don’t even have the rights we are lucky enough to have living in america! despite everything going on in this country right now, we must not ever forget that we do live in a great country with rights and opportunity. after all, we are america. we are the people. because of geographical luck, most of us were simply born here. others, a.k.a. 95% of the world’s population, did not have the privilege of being born here. many of these people do not even have close to the number of rights we have — they live horrors we could never dream of every day.
i want to make something abundantly clear in saying that it does not matter who marches — republican or democrat, man or woman, adult or child. this, in my eyes, was not a march for only women, or only democrats, or only people of the pro-choice ideology. it was for everyone. it was for everyone to make their voices heard. in my eyes, this was not an anti-trump march, per say. it was not a women’s rights march – but a human’s rights march. while there are plenty of people tweeting about how this march was a gathering of professionally offended, non-oppressed western women, i am here to say that in many of our eyes, that is not why we marched. some countries do not give their people the right to protest, or to even make their voices heard. on behalf of them, i marched. on behalf of those who were not born with the privileges that i was lucky enough to be given, i marched. on behalf of the dignity of every human being, no matter their race, beliefs, orientation, or identity, i marched.
the actual marching commenced shortly after the array of speeches. this woman’s words echoed in my mind throughout all of it. i saw beautiful, authentically-made signs, some of my favorites saying: “i will no longer accept the things i cannot change, i will change the things i cannot accept.” “build bridges, not walls.” “diversity is a national strength.” “i believe in change because i believe in you. -obama, 44” and, my ultimate favorite: “i’m with her: *drawing of the earth*”
marching with these people energized me. i know for a fact that our political and religious views were probably very different, but the point was that we came together. it really put meaning into “together we stand, divided we fall.”
we made history today. my generation made history today. peaceful protests around the world; the largest in history. what other issues entailed peaceful protests? the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage, indian independence from britain, and so many more. let us recognize our privileges in rights as americans, and let us use our voices and our stances to help and support others who are oppressed in their countries. this fight doesn’t end here. i do believe that if Jesus was alive today, he would have been right there with us, fighting for the fair and equal treatment of the poor, of women, of the underprivileged, of the sick, of the needy. this march was so much more than a bunch of whiny women complaining about the (nonexistent) patriarchy in america – this was the people – not just women – of the world coming together to fight for each other’s rights.
the attendance rates for these worldwide marches will continue to amaze me. it warms my heart to see so many people come out from every corner of the world in support and in love for one another. half a million in d.c., 750,000 in l.a., 60,000 in my city, and millions worldwide. this us is. this is america. these are the people of the world. it all boils down to the fact that all of us, in all of our uniqueness, have privilege based on some aspect of who we are. let’s use our diverse privileges to help each other; to raise each other up. in the words of john lewis, let’s get into trouble. good trouble.
may we inspire strong people, may we raise strong people, may we be strong people.