Upon getting the news that the march was taking place in Cleveland, I dropped everything and raced north as fast as I (safely) could. I was disappointed to have arrived shortly after the primary event ended, but I was fortunate to get to meet and talk with dozens of the 15,000 men and women who had marched in sister marches (current estimates are at two million protestors who marched today in all the sister marches!).
This was such a fantastic event to be part of, both in the small scale of marching in my hometown as well as in the larger scope of knowing that while we marched, thousands upon thousands marched with us not just around the country, but around the world. What an incredible rush!
When I left my house this morning, I had never participated in a movement like this. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Even now that it’s over, I’m still not sure I am able to process it yet. To quote Anna, “I don’t think we will realize what it’s been like, what we were a part of, until after it’s all over.”
What I do know is that amidst the camaraderie and solidarity there was this overwhelming sense of relief. As I worked my way around downtown and talked to people, group after group expressed similar feelings and experiences; words and evidence of diversity and unity in the name of human rights echoed around me.
One thing is certain: we will not be silenced.
***Note*** Out of courtesy to their privacy, only first names were used for those gracious enough to offer photos or phrases.
The following is the rough draft of the original blog I had started to write when I realized I could get first-hand experience a mere hour away. I felt it was important to keep here alongside the updated version since attending the march changed the structure of the original blog.
**BREAKING** The movement is in Cleveland! And I’m off!
Oh, how I desperately wish I could be marching with you right now! I sit in my office; it’s quiet, my husband has brought me coffee and breakfast, and my heart is pounding. I am excited. I am ecstatic. Thank you to these warriors for snapping my head out of the fog surrounding me from yesterday’s chaos. You have given so many of us hope.
I am so proud to have friends who are marching in this movement, some in DC, others across the country in California. I’ll be updating here periodically as they fulfill my need to live vicariously through their fierceness.
To everyone marching: you kick so much ass.
“I believe women are people,” Tim (CA)
“I for one am marching for my students and my children, which is the same thing really,” Anna (FL, but marching in DC)
“I’ve been most impressed with the intersection of experienced activists in their 60s and 70s and 80s and beginning activists in their teens and 20,” Anna (FL, but marching in DC)
It’s history in the making for sure.”
“It’s huge and a great vibe!”
“I haven’t felt this spirit, this desire of ordinary people to make a difference since I marched against the Vietnam War,” Vivian (OH)
“For the next rally, you should take a lot of time to make your signs” Anna (FL, but marching in DC)