Attending the Women's March in Washington DC, my friends and I were prepared to get tear-gassed, to argue with anti-protesters and to defend ourselves from overzealous police.
A week after election day I bought my train ticket for DC to come to the march. To say I was upset at the results would be an understatement – devastated is probably more accurate. This was the first presidential election I was eligible to vote in since becoming a US citizen and I was thrilled I would be able to vote for the first female president.
The disappointment I felt the day after was not something I've ever experienced before. One of my outlets after the election was Facebook groups like 'Pantsuit Nation', which was such a source of energy and joy leading up to the election. But on November 9th it turned into the largest support group online. And in a matter of days that sadness turned into outrage and the Women's March on Washington was born.
My friends and I, a group of women who have known each other since high school and college, decided to go right away. I don't think we've ever made travel plans quite that fast but by November 16th we had train tickets and a place to stay. And then we waited for January 21st.
In the two months since the election I've had second thoughts about going to the march and I've wondered what the purpose really was. On some level I was worried that what a male friend of mine said to me was true: “What's the point? You'll get together and cry over Hillary?” At times it did feel like that might be the purpose. But as Mr Trump's inauguration approached, and it's inevitability grew, going to the march felt like the only thing I could DO.
But being there, amid the throngs of women (and men), it felt a lot more than a Hillary pity party. It truly felt like the start of a movement.
There were families with children and senior citizens and a general air of hope. Hope I haven't felt since November 9th. Having been there is restoring my faith that people can indeed organise and change. And it is also cathartic to yell in a crowd of like-minded people, and to finally vent the frustration and anger that has been building up since Election Day.
We were able to peacefully march through the city, even on streets where the March hadn't been planned to go (at some point the organisers gave up on the original route as it was filled with people watching the rally). While it wasn't a celebration it was certainly festive.
The march represents the America I know and love. Yes, that sounds incredibly corny, but Walking on Constitution Avenue in a sea of pink 'pussyhats' and incredibly creative signs, in an ocean of women, it feels like there is hope and that people are ready to fight.
I'm hopeful this feeling will continue, I'm hopeful we will continue to fight. Only time will tell.
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