I don’t want to say it’s been raining ever since Inauguration Day, except it’s been raining ever since Inauguration Day… There were actual storm warnings on Inauguration Day, and heaven knows it hasn’t stopped raining today. Not once. In fact, the only day the sun came out was yesterday – for the Women’s March. It’s like even God thinks this whole Trump as President thing is a bad idea.
But it did stop raining yesterday – thank God – because it made it a whole lot more pleasant to be charging the streets of Downtown LA.
When I first found out about the Women’s March, I really wanted to go. Obviously. I think anyone with any integrity and decency would want to go. But I was so tired from my first week at work, especially after almost a solid week of waking up at 5.30am everyday to get there. (Anyone who knows me knows I am legitimately allergic to mornings.) Would I have rather spent my Saturday morning sleeping in? Yes. But I felt like this was important.
You can’t talk politics with Uber and Lyft drivers as much as I do and then refuse to put your money where your mouth is when you are given an opportunity. It’s time to DO SOMETHING! We can’t afford to be complacent anymore. Not now. Not when there’s so much at stake. Complaining just won’t cut it.
So I showered, dressed and made my way over to the train station in Universal City, bound for Downtown LA. The train was packed, and I spent the commute talking to the African-American gentleman beside me.
“This is what it’s all about,” he told me. “We come from different countries, our skin is a different colour, but we’re finding common ground…”
“In a weird way, I’m kind of glad Trump won the election,” I replied. “Because he’s been so divisive with everything he’s said and done, but in trying to tear people apart, he’s actually pulled them closer together and blown open the lid on a lot of issues that were simmering under the surface, things that probably would never have been addressed otherwise.”
As usual, I was right. Marching yesterday was so many things – powerful, moving, inspiring, beautiful. There was nothing but actual love in the air. You could literally feel the energy! A complete stranger wished me “nothing but luck in life”, and her kind words, along with the complete sincerity with which she said them, left a huge smile on my face for the rest of the day.
It was such a surreal experience. I had several moments throughout the day where I thought, “Holy shit! We’re making history right now! This is HUGE.” I wasn’t around in the ’60s (not in this life, anyway), but it reminded me of the movements happening back then. It was such an incredible day – one that I’ll never forget.
A part of what made it so special was not only seeing just how many people turned out for it (approximately 750,000 in LA alone), but also how diverse the crowd was… There were women, of course, but almost as many men turned out. I cannot even begin to describe how it felt to see so many men – young, old and everything in between – down there. Not only do gentlemen still exist, but they’re willing to stand with us AND fight for us! It was incredible to witness.
There were people of all different races, all different religions and all different sexual orientations peacefully coming together. It was beautiful! I saw humankind at its very best yesterday. Is this what John Lennon was talking about when he wrote, “Imagine”? Probably.
The reality is, we’re stronger when we come together. It may seem idealistic, but I witnessed it up close yesterday. We’re currently living in a world where fear is at an all-time high. Fear of terrorism, of globalisation… Fear of “the other”. And then you’ve got a select few, like Donald Trump and Lord Farquaad, the guy behind Brexit (I can never be bothered remembering his actual name), who have used this fear as an opportunity to advance themselves and their agendas. Our responsibility – as citizens of this world – is to not cave into the fear. Don’t believe the hype! For the most part, people are still really good. No matter who we are and where we’ve come from, we’re all just doing our best to get by in life. Live with kindness and compassion.
So, this is why I marched…
1. There’s that whole feminist thing…
I’ve been a staunch feminist for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I used to have a lot of discussions/arguments with my dad about gender equality. (Yes, these are the things we argue about in my family.) Frustrated, my dad would usually say to me, “Geez, you’re such a feminist, Demeter!” Like it was a dirty word. “YEP,” would be my proud response.
2. As women, we can’t expect others to stand up for us until we learn to stand up for ourselves…
This is a conversation I’ve had a lot with my friend, Sylvia in recent months. While it was amazing to see so many men out there yesterday, it was just as good to see so many women standing together and supporting each other. As women, we can often be our own worst enemies. We often tear each other down unnecessarily, instead of lifting each other up. If we banded together, we’d be unstoppable. How can we expect anyone else to stand up for us when we won’t even stand up for ourselves and each other?!
3. Because women are pretty amazing…
We’re kind, powerful, beautiful, strong, gentle, complex, intuitive, opinionated, smart, brave, valuable, and it’s about time we all started realising it! I was reading a book the other day, and there was a line that really resonated with me: “The closest thing to God on this earth is a woman’s body – it’s where life comes from.” Powerful stuff.
4. Because women are still treated like second class citizens…
We’ve come a long way, sure, but we still have such a long way to go! I want to feel safe when I walk down the street by myself. I want to earn the same amount a man earns for doing the same job. I want to be able to go out without feeling hungry eyes on me. I want to have ownership over my body. I don’t want to have to grit my teeth whenever someone makes a sexist or suggestive comment… And don’t even get me started on our sisters around the world, who are often still systemically abused and discriminated against solely because they happen to have been born female.
5. Because if we’re having to deal with periods and having babies, we shouldn’t have to deal with misogyny, too. That’s just the cherry on a shit pie.
6. Because we’ve gone from having a kind, self-confessed feminist as President of the United States to a racist man who boasts about sexually assaulting women…
This is NOT okay, and ALL women should be shocked, outraged and offended by the fact he was elected to office. It shows how little America – and the world – values its women and minorities.
7. Because I believe ALL people are equal…
I don’t care if you’re black, white, male, female, gay, straight, disabled and everything in between. We are all the same, and we should all have the same rights and opportunities. We all belong to one race – the human race. In fact, why are we still even having to discuss this?!
8. Because we’d be letting down the feisty, determined women who came before us if we DIDN’T do something! We have a responsibility to the sisterhood and to humankind to not just sit idly by.