Our Reflections on the March

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Women AdvaNCe had team members from Raleigh to Washington on Saturday. Rather than share just one person’s experience, we wanted to share our collective impressions of the day. We invite you to share yours for a future piece.

Naomi Randolph, Executive Director

Naomi shares what she saw on Saturday at the Raleigh Women's March.

Naomi shares what she saw on Saturday at the Raleigh Women’s March.

I witnessed women wearing  Hijabs to women wearing  P***yhats, gathered on Saturday to march and stand in solidarity with one another. The sights and sounds in Raleigh paled in comparison to the “feeling” in the air. There was an overwhelming sense of camaraderie and intersectionality. Groups and individuals representing reproductive justice, environmental justice, Black Lives Matter, and Vegans for Peace – to name a few – were supporting a national, collective vision. It’s a new national vision that promotes women’s rights, civil rights and human rights.

 

Laura Edwards, Founder

Laura and her daughter braved the foggy, wet weather to march in Raleigh.

Laura and her daughter braved the foggy, wet weather to march in Raleigh.

My 9-year-old daughter Lilly and I were trying to decide whether we should go to Raleigh for the March. We were going to meet friends, family and fellow Women AdvaNCe supporters. I saw the enthusiasm drain from her face when we pushed open the blinds and saw a dreary, foggy day. Then all off the sudden my mobile phone started to ping uncontrollably. Friends and family were texting from Washington, New York, Hillsborough and Raleigh.

We sprang into action and headed to Raleigh and found a welcoming church parking lot. I made the sign of the cross and asked the spirits to protect my car without having it towed away. The flags waving and sea of signs telling very personal stories of anger, fear, humor, history, promise, hope and defiance made the eight-block walk seem like just five minutes. The marchers were polite, ranging in age, perspective and physical ability, but everyone was on the move.

We joined the marchers. We raised our fists in solidarity. We chanted. We sang. We were witness to this historic moment. We were proud to be North Carolinians and Americans.
We stayed to cheer on the last marcher as they joined the rally. We took one last look at the massive crowd then turned and walked back to the car feeling a real sense that we were a part of something bigger than ourselves.
WE THE PEOPLE.
Stephanie marched with her daughters, Elise and Aubrie.

Stephanie marched with her daughters, Elise and Aubrie.

Stephanie Carson, Editorial Director and Communications Coordinator

I experienced the march through the eyes of my daughters. What started as an all-girls weekend with my friends changed on Friday in a matter of minutes to a trip with my daughters when my friends had to cancel. Although I drove to Washington with trepidation, having two young kids in tow, I trudged ahead.
What a gift. The trip started with a quick graffiti moment of painting Mommy’s car with messages. Just that moment of their squeals and giggles as they expressed their feelings would have been enough joy for the entire weekend. Our road trip was met with thumbs ups and waves all the way up I-81.
The March itself was magical. Countless women told me how seeing my children made them wish they’d brought their own. Seeing my daughters carry signs and chant their message made me choke up on more than one occasion. And I’ll never forget the kindness shown us by our Moms Rising sisters who adopted us into their fold and helped me care for the girls. My girls and I walked 16,976 steps (according to my Fitbit) on our walk to a greater understanding of our potential to be the change. It’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.
Jean marched with women from all over the country and made new friends on Saturday.

Jean marched with women from all over the country and made new friends on Saturday.

Jean Hamilton, Board Member

“This is what democracy looks like!” chanted the young women in black. “This is what democracy looks like!” I and other Women’s March participants shouted in response as we marched up 17th Street just west of the White House. Indeed, the Women’s March was what democracy looks like. We witnessed women, men, and children of all colors coming from all over the United States and the world to peacefully voice their values and give support to each other. The warmth, camaraderie, generosity, and passion of the participants will stay with me forever.

My story: I was supposed to meet my friend Hilde in Bethesda but she was not feeling well so I went to the March on my own. The moment I step foot on the platform of the College Park metro station, I knew I would not be alone. Cherry, a member of the Skein Gang from Colorado, gave me and other women hand-knitted pink hats. Kayla from Maine and her friend Sari invited me to come with them to meet up with Maine marchers gathering at the Hirshhorn Museum. We found the Maine group and I was given an honorary Maine Marchers ribbon. I decided not to march with Maine but waited to meet up with a friend, Sharman, who had traveled from Washington state. While I waited, I chatted, shared information with folks, and took my first selfie with Sheila from New York. I saw little of the official programming, but I was filled with and inspired by the passion and creativity of the unofficial programming – the protest signs that ranged from the crude and rude (e.g. Tuck Frump) to the clever and uplifting (Girls Just Want to have Fundamental Human Rights) –  and the endless sea of people. I finally met up with Sharman and her partner Michael. We marched. I was tired, hungry, and achy at the end of the day but uplifted and energized in the knowledge that I was one of millions in the fight for human rights and equality. This is what democracy looks like!

Jen Brick, Writer

What struck me about the march was how nice everyone was. I was on the right side of the National Mall half a block away from 7th avenue when the rally started. My friends and I had a nice spot on the sidewalk to watch the speakers. However, I had to get to 7th and down to Constitution to find another group of friends who were my ride home. As I squeezed through the crowd, people made way. Unlike at a music concert, crowded store, farmers’ market, or anywhere people gather and angle for the best spot, no one scowled or muttered or pushed back. They all helped. When I made it to the left side of the street, I was boxed in. I couldn’t make it to the intersection. So what happened? People hoisted me up a wall. I stood there for a moment, looking at a sea of people and pink hats. Then strangers lowered me down the other side where more strangers caught me. It was like this the whole day. At points, people were forced to swirl around each other as they tried to find friends or as the march was redirected, but I never heard complaints and never saw people upset. We were all happy to be there. Proud to be there. And in awe of what being crowded meant.




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