"Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul."
-Coretta Scott King
Last week I traveled from Seattle to Washington DC for the Women's March on Washington. I had heard amazing stories about airplanes filled with women donning their pink hats, but since the first leg of my trip ended in Charlotte, I only saw a handful of pink hats on my plane. Wearing my own hat however (knit entirely of pieces of pink scrap yarn from the 15 hats I made), got me a seat upgrade and a free glass of wine. I rolled into DC in the midnight darkness on the eve of the inauguration, my taxi driver taking side streets to avoid road closures. The day of the inauguration I was careful to avoid all activity and protests, opting instead to explore the neighborhood and enjoy a long lunch with friends. The morning of the march we spent a laughably long time deciding what to wear, adding layers only to change our minds and remove layers, and change our minds yet again. I know all about music festival attire but protest attire? Not so much. Ready or not, armed with our pink hats, good walking shoes, metro cards, and packs of granola, we set out to the nearest metro station. After letting a few full trains go by, we squeezed our way into a packed subway car, only to welcomed by a woman from NYC who greeted us with "All aboard the pussy train!". After a very crowded and very slow trip, and about the time our collective claustrophobia had reached a tipping point, we were let out of the metro and eventually found our way above ground to overcast skies and cool air. We could hear the voice of Michael Moore over the loudspeaker and slowly made our way to the nearest jumbo screen where we could finally see some of the speakers even though we were 7 blocks from the stage. I got goose bumps listening to Ashley Judd recite “I’m a Nasty Woman”, a spoken word piece written by 19-year old Nina Donovan. I strained to hear Gloria Steinem talk about our collective strength and the importance of working together. We heard Alicia Keys and Scarlett Johansson and the voices of the amazing, diverse women who organized the march. But the one who stood out, the one who brought down the house of hundreds of thousands of people, was 6-year old Sophie Cruz, the daughter of undocumented immigrants, who in the clearest, most confident voice, wise beyond her years, gave us this message: “I also want to tell the children not to be afraid because we are not alone”. The speeches ended and we soon learned that there were so many people in attendance that the march route was completely packed and no one could even move. We ccelebrated the fact that there were far more people in attendance than planned and considered it a victory despite not being able to move and getting restless. Finally, the crowds were starting to move so we jumped into the current and marched. I met people from all over the country, from Florida and Texas, to Portland and Ohio, and Saskatchewan, Canada. At the time I had no idea just how many people were present, but I knew I was in the midst of history being made and it was spectacular. We were on our feet standing and walking for close to 8 hours, and at dusk as the march headed to the White House, we crossed the street holding hands, zig-zagging through the crowds one last time before starting the long walk home. Exhausted, sore and hungry, I felt like I could have marched forever. Back home, I’m still basking in all that we accomplished from DC to the sister marches across the globe, from Seattle and everywhere in between, knowing that this is just the start.