Sunday, January 22, 2017

Yesterday, I had the great privilege to journey from Athens to Atlanta, to march through downtown Atlanta along Martin Luther King Jr Drive with 63,000 or so incredible people who took the time out of their lives to make a stand;

to say, "This is not normal";

to demonstrate that we will not stand for racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, nor a generalized hatred for the unknown, whether it be in the form of people or ideas.

Women all over the world, in seven continents and hundreds of cities and countries, from my own Savannah, Georgia; to Nairobi; to Anchorage, AK, deep under snow; we organized, we came together in so many ways, by the millions. We made a powerful statement that we will not be ignored.

I've been feeling sick to my stomach every day for seventy-four days now.

Yesterday, I felt strong.

I thought often about Eleanor and Beatrice, and the kind of world I want them to know as they grow into young people and adults. It was constantly on display all around me.

It was pouring buckets as Elisabeth and Ashley and I left Athens, determined as ever. It was raining harder by the time we met Carl and Jayne, Cindy and Adeline.

The blue sky began to peek through the clouds while John Lewis told us he was proud of us.

I wore a pin my friend Casie promoted, my feminist gold t-shirt, my almost-twenty-year-old Docs. After MARTA-ing, we stopped at a McDonald's to use the restroom and when I got some water, two young black women behind the counter asked excitedly if I'd been at the march, and we looked at some of the pictures on my phone that are here on this post. They were so relieved that the rain didn't seem to have diminished the attendance. They were as endeared as I was by the adorable children, holding tiny signs. Do not doubt that I will think about those two women who wanted to be there, who held me up and shared my excitement, and how I can be as gracious as they were, and how I can do better by them.

It's hard to visualize the scope of 60+ thousand people. Even having been there, I haven't gotten my head around where everyone was at any given moment. I just knew it was constant. It was a flood. It was surrounding me with like-minded people, mostly women, who will not sit when we need to stand. Creative and brilliant women of such varied ages, colors, and backgrounds were shoulder to shoulder with me everywhere.

My standard MO is to smile, though I thought on the way to the march that perhaps I needed more of a game face, to reveal my determination.

But I dropped it when I saw the crowds marching to the march, heard the pounding of hundreds of feet around me, and saw the thousands surrounding the Center for Civil and Human Rights, as things began to take shape. I especially dropped it when we were next to an amazing brass band, flaunting the fact that New Orleans doesn't have a monopoly on celebratory and ambulatory music for progress.

I was so proud of so many of my friends.

I felt connected to my crew.

People I love marched in cities all over the country.

Children made me want to cry.

Ladies everywhere made me laugh (~lolsob~).

And the men I saw made my heart burst with happiness for their allegiance. The men I didn't see -- the ones who stayed home with kids so that their wives and mothers could be there -- made my heart swell with love for their support.

The power for change is in our hands.

I'm ready to do something with it.