“Unite Against Hate”
“We Shall Overcome”
“Fight Like A Girl”
“Never Give Up”
“The World is Proud of U 4 Being Here”
These were just a few of the slogans I saw within the vibrant sea of posters and flags at the Women’s March in New York this past weekend.
Initially, as excited and inspired as I was to join the march, I questioned the impact of my presence there and wondered how one individual could affect such a huge, global movement. But a little voice inside my head compelled me to attend – so I did. Just as my friends and I passed the barricades and joined the march down Fifth Avenue, my self-doubt evaporated into the crowd and was instantly replaced with a contagious sense of faith, passion, strength, courage, hope, power, and most of all, pride – in my voice, in my rights, and the capacity of our global community to spark change.
Although the event was dedicated to the women of our country and our world, I looked around and saw women, men, and children of different ages. I saw a little girl on her father’s shoulders singing and clapping, and a women inching forward, with her cane in one hand, and her handmade sign in the other. I saw people of different colors and ethnicities embracing one another. I saw people of different genders and sexual orientations holding hands. I saw people of different sizes and shapes mixed in with the rest. And I saw people holding up banners and waving around flags that brightly stood for different causes that affect not just women, but the rest of humanity, deeply.
Even though we were all defending our rights and fighting against a voice that thrives off of divisiveness and oppressiveness, what was titled a Women’s March felt more like a parade for all – a joyful celebration of our will to live vibrantly and march boldly in pursuit of progress, even though we’ve been commanded to stay seated.
In those brief historic moments that I was privileged enough to share in, our differences became irrelevant. Regardless of where we come from, what we do for a living, where we live, or who we love, everyone came together as individuals and formed a beautifully eclectic mosaic, together:
If you looked closely, each member of the march differed from one another, representing their own unique essence and identity. But if you took a step back and viewed the march from afar, you’d see that we all created a grander image together – a vibrant mixture of colors, textures, and shapes crafted together to vividly illustrate ideals of equality, respect, open-mindedness, and growth. Interestingly enough, our differences served as the equalizing force that united us all – as one movement, one voice, one force, and one race.
Finally, we exited the crowd and left the group as we reached 55th Street – the street that marked the end of the march, and the border that lied between the sea of demonstrators and Trump Tower – our president’s skyscraper that stood before us, right across the way. But as I walked away and took my piece of our colorful mosaic with me, I knew that the impact of our march continued well past 55th Street: its power spanned around the globe, shook minds, touched hearts, and soared high above the roof of that glaring grey building, shattering the sky that our president has merely scraped.
As the thrill of that historic event becomes a vivid memory, I will always feel grateful for this experience, over the next four years and always – for the opportunity we had to speak up, to stand for my rights and for those of my friends, to absorb the dynamic spirit of this resilient city, to make history, and to say no when we were told to stay down.
The day after the march, I passed by a construction sight in the West Village and saw a poster that read, “Together, let’s be more human,” – and suddenly, the march took on a whole new significance.
Although the reason behind the event was fueled by the outcome of the election and the direction in which our president has pursued thus far, the march seemed to send a message that translates to any situation and context of life, on a grander level:
In many ways, we are all strikingly different. But at our cores, underneath it all and above everything else,
we are all,