I got on a bus at midnight on January 21 and dozed most of the way to D.C. On that day, I took part in the Women’s March on Washington, which turned out to be an historic event of gigantic proportions.
While amid the masses of people, I knew it was huge but I had no way to conceive its size. All I knew was that the people were all ages, all races, men, women, children, old and young. No one was angry — lots of laughter. A lot of people looked like me — grandmoms wearing pink knit caps.
What I will remember most are the swells of cheers that periodically swept through the crowd like gigantic waves. You could feel them coming toward you as if they were something you could touch. And then you’d be cheering with everyone and they would pass on. The closest feeling I can compare them to is cheering in a football stadium.
Afterward, we searched for ways to get back to our bus as the Metro was shut down. And then a cabdriver stopped for us, and all was good.
So I got back to the bus, dozed again, drove home and went to bed.
The next day and after that, I found out how many people marched all over the world for human rights, to make sure we would be heard and seen and counted (if not listened to).
Since that day, people have tried to belittle what we did, to cast us all in the same mold, to disparage the millions, to discount our efforts as pointless and shallow. I don’t understand their comments, or the need to demean our choices.
All I know is I’d never done anything like this before. I was apprehensive and a bit scared, but as soon as I started walking through the neighborhoods on the way to the rally I knew all was good.
Families greeted us, women took selfies with DC police and National Guard, and everyone was happy to see us.
Why did I go?
I only know I felt that I had to. I’ve never felt this as strongly. In a week I would turn 60, and I knew I’d been silent for far too long. Education, healthcare, the environment and religious rights are all important issues for me, and I don’t agree with the changes this administration promises to make.
As I marched up Pennsylvania Avenue, I realized that I, too, have a right to have my voice heard. I, too, am part of a large segment of America that is taken for granted and overlooked — older women.
The trash of more than a million people — without any trash cans anywhere – was cleaned up and paid for (a stupid complaint I heard) and not a soul was hurt or a window broken.
Since then, I’ve become more involved — contacting representatives, attending meetings, supporting causes I believe in. Speaking up.
And I don’t intend to go backward silently.