What a weekend
I’m still processing. I think many are still in shock. We Americans have a new President. President Trump. DC this past week had an extra electric charge running through it. Generally, during Inauguration weekend, DC is known to be crowded, flooded with tourists and filled with excitement that is almost tangible. It was the same this year. However, instead of the expected display of patriotism and pride, there was an intense feeling of fear and gloom on Inauguration day, followed by hope and power on the next. Though, like many people I know, I refused to go to the mall for the actual swearing-in ceremony, I had the chance to be downtown a number of times over the past few days.
The highlight, of course, was the Women’s March on Washington. I am still coming down from the power of the event. Hundreds of thousands of women and men protesting together in Washington, with many more thousands doing the same around the world, proved to everyone that we women will not stand idly by, and the potential impact of one original Facebook post. You could feel the energy and passion in the air – more and more people pouring in with signs, pink hats, and looks of determination on their faces.
We took over the National Mall. Though it was nearly impossible to hear the speakers because of the sheer number of people in the space, I was able to catch parts of speeches in between wandering through the crowd and trying to figure out where to go. One speech in particular, that I sadly only caught the last few seconds of, filled me with more pride than I have felt in a long time. Linda Sarsour, a proud Palestinian-American and one of the key organizers of the march, energized the crowd for five minutes without any apology for who she was, how she dressed or what she stood for, and received the largest applause I have ever heard. She ended with the only statement that I was able to hear, but brought tears to my eyes: “Because I organize for my mother, I march for my daughters and all my children. But most of all, I am my Palestinian grandmother who lives in occupied territory’s wildest dreams, my sisters and brothers and I am so proud to be here with all of you. Justice for all.” She is such an inspiration to all Muslim-Americans, Palestinian-Americans, and women around the world. Here is a link to the speech:
Throughout the day, and the eventual marching up and down every major street in downtown DC and near the White House, I was able to see the thousands of signs with everything from clever puns to inspirational quotes to somewhat vulgur but brutally honest pictures and statements in support of women’s rights.
We chanted all day till my voice was sore. “Fired up, ready to go” down one street, “This is what America looks like” down another, and “We won’t go away, welcome to your first day” near the White House. The incredible feeling of marching side by side with women and men from every nationality and religion will never be erased from my memory.
This march was historic. We have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do, but I am now confident that we will do it.
Here are two pictures that I snapped, but there are millions more worth seeing online: