More than one friend as well as my two California Senators have asked me why I attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Friends wondered why I would fly across country and not simply march in either Oakland, San Francisco, or Walnut Creek which were all within my geographic location. Others wondered why I didn’t go to Chicago, where we have a condo.
As a child of the 1960s, marching and protesting are in my blood. As I aged to my current 70 year-old self, I thought that those days were totally over. I could slip into a peaceful and quiet “old-age.” But when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States and the idea of a Women’s March in D.C. was bandied about, I thought, “No, my protesting days are not in the past. They are here in my present and my future.” Might I have made a different decision if I’d known that there would be local marches? I don’t know that answer. But I do know that the moment I heard about the D.C. Women’s March, I knew that I had to be there. I first invited my daughter, a professional social worker who is passionate about social justice, but she was a step ahead of me and was already planning her own trip. At the same time, my husband said, “I think that we should both go to D.C.” and our trip got quickly planned.
But why was this so important? Here are a few reasons why:
We know that each Women’s March across the nation and world shared a commonality of awesome camaraderie, a standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, and the importance of being heard. We all were lucky to stand up and be counted whether in rain or shine, cold and snow, or bright sunny skies.
We knew that this was going to be special when our Thursday flight to Baltimore was 90% filled with women going to the March. There were dozens of pink hats and some of us were knitting more hats. There was an energy, a spirit, and a feeling that we were all inspired to action. Even the flight attendants exhibited that same feeling, when one of them played a very jazzy tune through the P.A. system and invited everyone to dance and rock out.
We knew that it was important as we stood in line at the Baltimore Museum of Art and everyone was talking about the Women’s March and not the Presidential Inauguration. We knew that it was important when we arrived at the Metro stop and it took 15 minutes to get out of the station because there were so many people. We knew that it was important when the Women’s March spread far beyond its boundaries and everyone was so proud to be there, no matter what street we walked on.
There were all colors, all shapes, all ages and a sense that we were making an important statement to the new leadership in Washington. We will not go quietly into the night. We will not support racism, sexism, anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, and anti-immigration edicts and bills. We will focus our energies on the 2018 Mid-Term elections and try as hard as we can to right the ship of state that is listing too far to the right.
We marched and we will continue to act responsibly and with truth and integrity.
Sandy Anderson is past co-present of Women of Isaiah in Lafayette, CA. She has been an active member of Temple Isaiah for 43 years. Sandy is also a WRJ Pacific District Area Representative for Northern California.