Well, we did it. We turned out in droves and marched across the country, across the globe and man, we were heard. My mom and I traveled to Washington, D.C. for the historic Women’s March on Washington and here’s what we saw…
We stayed between D.C. and Baltimore and planned ahead to take the train to the march. Even with tickets purchased in advance, we arrived at the station around 6:30 a.m. and waited for two hours. We were surrounded by a sea of pink hats and enthusiastic crowds. It was such fun to see everyone turning out but excitement quickly turned to panic when the southbound trains kept passing us because they were already full. We split an Uber with a group of ladies and as we pushed our way through the station saw the train stop and let people on. We waited for two hours on that platform in the cold, so we were crushed. We didn’t lose momentum, though. We crammed into a car and made our way to Union Station.
The ride was an opportunity to connect with the women we met on the platform. Two of them were from Kansas City, Missouri and the other was an Italian immigrant who traveled from Los Angeles for the march. I loved hearing their contrasting perspectives. They shared their fears about the upcoming administration and what inspired them to come to Washington. We told them how we impulsively purchased plane tickets on Christmas Day and they told us they planned the trip before the election. They wanted to be a part of history and see the first female president’s inauguration. What a turn of events, right? One of the women said her sister, who lives in Sweden, was marching too. I checked my phone and saw marches were taking place around the globe: Berlin, London, Paris, even Antarctica. That’s when I knew something big was happening.
We got dropped off at Union Station and bid adieu to our car mates. This is when the excitement really set in. We followed the sea of people toward Independence Avenue, chanting and taking photos along the way. We passed the Capitol and it felt so bittersweet that the day before I watched on TV as President Obama walked down the stairs to Marine One and departed for the last time. The buildings are so grand and beautiful and the whole scene felt even more perfect with the nation’s people marching by.
To be completely honest, I’m not sure where we ended up. March volunteers and law enforcement were kind enough to tell us when to turn and which direction to go, but once we reached Independence and… some cross street… the crowd was so packed, it was difficult to get anywhere. We managed to squeeze our way in to a spot where I could just barely hear the rally speakers. I actually didn’t know where the stage was or who was speaking so we pushed closer to hear Michael Moore, Scarlett Johansson, Ashley Judd, Alicia Keys, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Kamala Harris. I caught a glimpse of the monitor and settled in for each speaker’s inspiring words. I didn’t catch Gloria’s speech, but watched it more than once at home.
I would have liked to have stayed longer, but we had a flight back to Florida to catch. Even as we sat on the train back to Baltimore, we mingled with fellow marchers about the success of the day. Twitter posts were shared about the size of the crowd and how every demonstration was peaceful. It was especially entertaining to listen to one woman explain Twitter to these two older ladies. They were amazed at the information being provided and one woman asked, “How do I Twitter?” while the other emphatically piped in, “Can I see Donald Trump’s Twitter?”
Overall, the day felt like success. We were heard. We were peaceful. We were powerful. I walked away feeling like change is possible and for the first time, ever I think, I felt united with people. Everyone got along, everyone supported each other, and we came together (with creative and funny signs!) to make history. If anything, I’m more inspired to see the world through the eyes of people who are not like me and to listen to them. In listening to everyone, not just those who agree with us, we can learn, we can progress, and we can come together. Since sharing my experience, I’ve found that not everyone agreed with the march or they saw it as a movement of sore losers. We all marched for different reasons and even though we don’t all agree on the issues, I have found that more than anything, people want to be unified again. They want to come together as a country, and the first way to do that is to listen.
Elizabeth Warren at the Boston March