Usually I would resist an event like the Women’s March, pegging it a set-up of perfect poster children equipped with underhanded promotion of the status quo. But given Trump’s disorderly conduct as the new commander in chief, the status quo is in order for a redefinition. I was compelled to march because I wanted to redefine what matters, through offering my presence as a non-binary black female. Even if the March turned out to be a good ole girls club of self righteous, privileged women, I wanted to expand the ideal of equality beyond what is normally permitted to include all who suffer from intersectional oppression. So I put on my “Power To The People” tee and rolled out to represent.
I was struck by the accord of the crowds of people. It seemed surreal, trains jammed pack with marchers and whole downtown streets blocked off. “Black Lives Matter!” “Trans Lives Matter!” “Immigrants are welcome here!” I thought I must have bumped my head because for the first time in my 27 years of living, my values and beliefs seemed to align with the mainstream. In the words of Sofia of the Color Purple, “All my life, I had to fight.”
I was thrown to see countless people vocalize the existence of systemic discrimination against sexes and races. I hadn’t even opened my mouth yet and strangers were fighting for me. White people were checking their own privilege. Women were calling out transphobia. And it all started to sync in. This march truly was for me. 898,000 people marched - who packed on trains, carpooled, road tripped - for Women, all women and their creations. I was tripping the fuck out!
I became high off dopamine induced by a beautiful kaleidoscope of skin colors, signs emblazoned with witty equal rights statements, strangers dancing like best friends chanting words of love. In the midst of it, I was like a child at Disneyland, giddy and wide-eyed, taking in the entire spectacle. And there were poster children on the pop up stages in front of City Hall and the other on Spring and 6th, where I stopped to rest. There was Kerry Washington, Regina Spektor, Jackson Browne, Goapele, Jordan Peele and LaVerne Cox alongside real social justice warriors in the struggle. All delivered ardent, heart-filled speeches. They got me. And as the time inched closer to 4pm, that end time, I begin to dread.
The question that hung over us all was "What next?" What happens after we leave and they break down the stage and we leave our signs? What happens when the synergy spreads into individual energy? What can you do now?
One of the actresses that spoke, I can not recall her name, but she answered with this:
“Do what you can. You never know who you might inspire just by doing all you know how. Even if it’s something small as tweeting or as big as organizing a march, do what you can. Each and every one of us… we are the pebbles that make ripples in the ocean. We are the ripples, we are the change.”
January 21st, 2017, I was the change I wanted to be and I saw the change I wanted to see.