Why I March
On Saturday Jan. 21, 2017, I participated in my first peaceful protest in NYC. To me this was long overdue. I have a background in activism, as I participated in several environmental and renewable energy actions in Florida. I even sat in the middle of traffic in front of the Sallie Mae office in Washington D.C. to protest against the student loans and the increase of their interest rates back in 2012.
In the midst of the political climate and tragic events occurring within this nation, all I was able to do last year was glance at CNN being projected in my office lounge, and bottle up my desire to run out and take my place in front of Trump Tower since I had to be at work. :(
I needed to do something different this year, so I dragged my mom, who just landed in NYC the night before, to midtown and we participated in the NYC’s Women’s March.
The turnout was “ridonkulous”! More than 78,000 people registered for the March, but articles are reporting between 400,000 and 600,000 actually showed up. There were so many people there that many of us didn’t even move. I stood still on the intersection of 48th and 2nd ave from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Regardless, I still felt content and a part of the movement. To see men and women of all ages, sizes and race come together and chant “Love Trumps Hate!” and“Black Lives Matter!” in unison, gave me joy and hope for the future.
My mom and I were surrounded by witty signs, elders who have been protesting since the 70s and children who are now being exposed to what a democracy truly looks like.
As we all stood in solidarity, I had to make friends (duh lol). I met a few French women who now live in America. They told me they participated in the march because they were accustomed to speaking up and out against injustice and discrimination in France. Our conversation was about various topics, but of course "President Trump " (his title is in quotation marks because I am still in disbelief) came up. One of the ladies, Layidé, said something instrumental to me that day. She said, " Trump is there now and his is going to do what he's going to do, but at this point just focus on what's around you and how you can make your world better."
Shortly after I met Jelsen, he was holding a huge sign that said something that read as an incomplete sentence. "Black Women Especially," his poster read, and of course I asked, "especially what?" Jelsen responded "black women especially period." He went on to explain that black women always get the worst end of the stick, they feel the most backlash when policies are changed or aren’t properly corrected. He was clear that he was marching for his sisters, mom, aunts, friends and all black women. This brought me to the reason why I participated in the march on Saturday.
I realized that I showed up that morning not to stand against Trump, but to stand up for all the women of color who were marginalized during the initial movement in the late 1800s.
History shows that in the 20th century, the National American Woman Suffrage Association leaders often discouraged black women’s clubs from attempting to affiliate with them. The discrimination was even stronger in the south as some members argued for the enfranchisement of white women only clubs.
I march for the women of color who could only listen to speeches said at Seneca Falls from the balcony or by cuffing their ears to the outside windows. I march for Harriet Tubman, for Sojourner Truth and for Amy Garvey.
I marched for Ida B. Wells, who refused to walk in the segregated unit during the 1913 suffrage parade, and deliberated slipped into her state’s delegation once the parade started.
Most importantly I marched for all the women of color that stories have not survive the hardship of time, who stories will never be included in our text books, or on a Black History Month or Women’s Month commercial spot.
I did it, and will continue doing it for them.