The Women’s March matters because now is the time to wake up and fight for what we all deserve: basic human rights of equality, respect and dignity.
I floated the idea of attending the Women’s March in Vancouver on January 21st to my husband and kids in a somewhat lacklustre manner. I said, “I’d really like to attend this march because I think it’s critically important to stand up for what I believe is right, but I also want to sleep in on Saturday.”
My thirteen-year-old daughter, who is a feminist through and through, immediately responded, “I’m in. Let’s go.” My husband said the same thing. My plans to sleep in were jettisoned in favour of a momentous cultural moment. I’m so grateful for their positive response to this idea, for I needed the kick in the ass to move beyond what I say to what I’m willing to show up for and be a part of.
The time has come to stop hoping for change and to instead become that change. It’s not enough to sit by and be silent. Many women have taken that path throughout history, for a lot of different reasons, but now, in 2017, we’ve come too damn far to stay quiet now.
For the first time since the U.S. election, I felt optimistic again while I was marching. I felt powerful, like what I want is achievable if I’ve got the guts to go for it. I will not say nothing and passively watch our culture slide further to the right into an outdated and unfairly oppressive system of patriarchy.
Women and minorities are powerful when we join together and say, “No more of this. We are valuable and important and we have voices that we aren’t afraid to use.” Sure, it might make some people uncomfortable. So what? The spirit of the Women’s Marches around the globe was one of power, peace and unity. I could feel it in my bones in Vancouver. It woke something up that was too afraid to come out into the light before.
I watched Ava’s face as we walked, chanted, read signs, laughed, linked arms and participated. Her features were lit up, fierce, on fire, alive and alert. It was beautiful. I felt the surging energy of the crowd, passionate enough to show up early on a drizzly Saturday morning in the tens of thousands to say, “We are here. We matter. We will not be ignored.”
In my lifetime I’ve never seen a coordinated protest rise up around the world in response to the American inauguration of a new president. But the integrity of the man they have elected matters. The danger he poses to women, minorities, immigrants and the marginalized is very real and deeply disturbing. I’m concerned when I talk to people who don’t seem bothered by what is developing to the south of us.
I’m immensely proud to be a woman with a husband and children who were ready and willing to show up and march. The real work of resistance is only beginning, but hot damn, what a crackerjack opening we had around the globe on Saturday.
It’s not enough to wait and see what happens. We’ve been grieving and fearful for awhile now. It’s women who made this mammoth march happen in a short amount of time. We are the ones who have to show up and fight for what we believe in.
Clearly, many people are willing to do this important work. I’m encouraged by these numbers. It makes me feel less terrified and alone. Let’s keep going. We matter and we have a lot of work to do to keep this momentum going.