On January 20th, or as I like to call it "Doomsday," I sat in the boarding area for my flight to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. Tears slowly streamed down my face as the news confirmed that Trump had been sworn in as the next President of the United States. Every fiber of my being had hoped that this was a nightmare from which I would awaken and he would not be president. As the dreariness of the day weighed on my shoulders, a small seed of hope began to worm its way into my heart as I noticed all the women sitting beside me wearing "Nasty Woman" shirts and pink pussy hats. Snapping out of my funk and looking around, it became clear the majority of travelers were women going to the March.
Arriving at the Ronald Reagan airport, I realized that I was entering unknown territory. Kiosks lined the airport with Trump merchandise. There was even a cut out of Trump with his thumps up wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. It was at that moment I realized there were two kinds of people here, the ones who came for Trump’s inauguration and the ones for the Women’s March. From that moment on, I kept my eyes peeled open for my fellow "Nasty" sisters in pink pussy hats.
The next morning, it was time to march. We woke up early, knowing that we had a big day ahead of us. As we made our way to the metro, I was overwhelmed by the number of people on the platform holding signs and wearing hats. The platform was packed with people who decided to take a stand. Everyone was friendly and becoming more spirited. It was all love.
Coming out of the metro and onto the street, tears began to form in my eyes again as I saw masses of people coming to the March. On every street we passed, there were more and more people. It was a never-ending sea. Everywhere I looked you could see waves of pink hats. As the crowds continued to grow, the hope in my heart expanded. When the rally began, we couldn’t hear or see the stage but it didn’t matter. What mattered was the experience of being present in the moment and witnessing the power of women and the strength of unity. It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people and think to myself, these are my people. Throughout the day, I never felt unsafe, overwhelmed, or anxious; we were part of a peaceful protest. Everyone banded together out of solidarity and love. To borrow a phrase from Van Jones, this was the “Love Army” getting in formation.
Eventually, we worked our way through the crowd to a spot where we could hear the speakers. The first speaker we heard was Sophia Cruz. Hearing the courage and strength in the voice of a six-year-old as she spoke to the masses, moved me and my eyes began to water again. Two other powerful speakers were Alicia Keys and Janelle Monáe. Alicia Keys took the stage with poetic words of resistance and strength. She engaged the audience by singing the chorus of "Girl on Fire." I personally love the song and belted out every word with the rest of the crowd. But the speech that deeply touched me was Janelle Monáe’s. She had all the mothers who had lost their children to unnecessary police violence repeat their child’s names as the crowd chanted. The pain that I heard in their voices made the tears fall down my face as I witnessed this powerful moment. Then the actual March started naturally as protestors began to walk towards the end point, the ellipse in front of the White House.
After six hours in the large crowd, I did not feel depleted, which is a typical occurrence for me. Instead, I felt hope. Hope expanding as I walked through the city and saw people in pink pussy hats on every corner and down every street. However, I kept asking myself what do we do next? What do I do with this passion and energy? Well, I am going to stay informed and use my voice. I have witnessed society shaming and silencing women, like Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor. I refuse to be quiet or hold back anymore. I will use my voice to speak the truth. I will stay informed and challenge "alternative facts." Since the white male patriarchy has grabbed power, I know they the will be trying to take away my rights, human rights. As a nasty woman, I will resist. So where will you stand?