Our March Experience began years before the actual event. It began with the many mistakes we made. As privileged white ladies, we never really needed to be truly engaged with politics. We read about issues, voted in every election and patted ourselves on the back accordingly.
Like many Americans, we were shocked and dismayed by the entire 2016 Presidential election cycle. We were appalled by the hateful and misogynistic rhetoric coming from certain quarters of the right. But, like so many with privilege, we were sure that our own version of good would prevail. Not only were we dangerously naive, we were super wrong.
As soon as we heard about the Women’s March, we made plans to participate. The thought of the upcoming March kept us going through those dark months from November to January. The thought of the March made the looming inauguration bearable for us.
We arrived in LA the evening before and holed up in a downtown hotel room with my 14 year old daughter. As newbies to political marches and protests, I’ll admit that we were anxious.
The morning of our March experience, we slathered on sunscreen, wore sensible shoes and walked to Pershing Square. We made it about three blocks before the crowds began. It was awe inspiring to see so many people. Our March was more of a stand but that was okay because it was better to be crammed in with other then stand alone on such an important day. It’s estimated that somewhere between 500,000 and 750,000 people showed up in downtown LA that day. It truly felt magical. Watching my daughter’s face as she read the clever signs and heard excited women practice their march songs was a pivotal parenting moment.
We can only speak to what the March meant to us. And what it meant was that we were not alone, that other Americans were just as (if not more so) concerned about the future. The 2016 election changed what it meant to be an American. For some it was a validation of their ideals, but for many, many, many others it was a realization that we weren’t as far from our problematic past as we had believed. And that may have been what drove so many people into the streets.