We got off the metro at Judiciary Square, in the heart of downtown D.C. Immediately I felt the energy in the crowd. With the arrival of each new train, the men and women on the platform erupted into welcoming whoops and hollers.
I was a taken aback – and truly inspired – by the variety of participants. Three teenage boys stood next to a grandmother in a wheelchair, being pushed by a 6-year-old who was likely her granddaughter. Just awesome. Traveling with my mother, grandmother and best friend, I felt uplifted by both our multi-generational group of women and the crowd as a whole.
Our little band of supporters made our way to the begins of the march on Constitution Avenue. It wasn’t until then that I realized the sheer volume of the masses in attendance. People of all different backgrounds were flooding the streets with signs, support and smiles.
At one point, a woman next to me linked her arm with mine and began to chant, “Love trumps hate.” Tears were rolling down her cheeks; I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was filled with emotion myself.
At one point, we couldn’t even walk forward. There were So. Many. People. We stood there, in our atmosphere of empowerment, thriving off the optimism each new body gave the other.
Signs were everywhere. America has some of the funniest and most creative people, let me tell you. Ranging from, “Girls just want to have FUN-damental rights,” to “the elephant in the womb,” I was so I moved by each unique voice.
Side note: the best sign by far was held by a woman in her late 80s. It read, “My hands are tired from holding this sign since the 70s.” Honestly, I cannot remember a time when I’ve laughed harder. She was thrilled when I asked if I could take her picture.
I feel so humbled as a 17-year-old girl to have had so much opportunity and support in my life up to this point. From working at SPR to attending Culver Summer Leadership Camp and having a father more encouraging and supportive than I can even begin to say, I’m profoundly grateful to be so empowered.
Yesterday, I marched for those who have experienced fear. I marched for my great-great-grandmother who marched before me, making me the fifth generation of McNarys to be active in supporting for Women’s Rights. I marched for my mother, my sister and myself – and I marched for my future daughters.
There was not one arrest out of the 600,000+ individuals who attended the Women’s March on Washington. I think this perfectly mirrors the message of the march itself: this was not about a person or an administration. This was greater than Democrats and Republicans. This was greater than a difference of opinion.
This was a gathering in solidarity for fundamental human rights: Equality for all. No violence was needed to prove our point. In fact, I think the peaceful protest spoke louder than any hateful screams or aggressive actions.
I am filled with hope for the future. This is what democracy looks like.