On Saturday January 21st, I attended the second Women’s March. I had attended last year’s march with my daughters and a few women in my family. It was empowering, energizing, and inspiring to see all the amazing women, men and members of the LGBTQ community standing for justice and equality for all. More importantly, the march was peaceful, there was a strong sense of unity. I was fired up in a way I had never been (except for on November 8, 2016). I felt hopeful, the possibility of change and a future to be excited for. I was also excited to have my daughters present at what was a historic moment in our country.
This year I attended again, with one of my daughters and a close friend who was out of the country last year and couldn’t attend. We were all excited and pumped to march alongside others and to stand up to the racist, xenophobic, misogynistic and fascist energy that is currently pumping through the veins of this country and sitting in our white house. There were amazing people, the speeches at the rally were inspiring, the signs that were being held up proudly were powerful and there was a spirit of unity. We were pumped to get started marching together with others.
What happened after the rally was at least to me, depressing. Before I start on what my experience was, let me just state that I understand that it may not be easy to manage such large crowds. I also understand that there are measures that need to be taken to ensure that emergency vehicles can get to where they need to etc. However, we have parades in NYC all the time, and I’ve never seen anything like this. I have never experienced what I experienced in this years Women’s march. The St. Patrick’s Day parade for example, doesn’t have that level of containment, restraint and/or tightness.
Once we entered the march, the NYPD essentially put all marchers in groups in cages using metal barricades. From my view, each street block had a barricade and they were letting small groups out of one barricade and into the next, where we were again barricaded for a substantial period. It took us 2 hours to move one block. People became restless and the arguing started. This may not have been everyone’s experience, but this is what is was for me and it felt extremely oppressive. It felt like we had no freedom, as if we were a threat, we had zero control, in fact we were being controlled and I didn’t like it one bit. Maybe it brought up some old energy from my African and Native American lineage. Isn’t that exactly what is happening in the world right now? Where I was, it got to the point that people began shouting “Let us march”!!! Maybe this was a message for me and for the ladies I was with. Maybe others felt the same and haven’t spoken up about it. By no means am I saying that it was a waste of time to attend the march. What I am saying, is that the message that I received was you’re out here taking a stand for something, with a predominantly female group and you still have zero freedom, you’re restrained, suppressed and have no control. We are a threat to the structures and dynamics already in place in the patriarchy, and they will do everything in their power to stop us or slow us down.
The take away message I got was we have a long way to go, and maybe for me, the message was you need to do more. I know we all know this on some level. Whether It’s to run for office, volunteer, start my Reiki, sessions, coaching and kinesiology practice, whatever it is. This is just the beginning and I know a lot of women who feel the same. My advice is to listen to whatever is calling you. This is a time for change and Saturday’s march made me realize that this just isn’t enough anymore, especially not for me. That doesn’t mean we have to stop marching, it means broaden our thinking, see a bigger picture and more importantly, believe in ourselves. Hoping we all took away something this weekend that will propel us forward!