by deborah schwartz
I was one of 400,000 women—and men—of every age, race, sexuality, and religion who participated in the Women’s March on NYC. I travelled into the city that morning with a close friend to meet up with my fellow Empower Lab members. From the moment I stepped onto the train platform in NYC’s suburbs until I exited the massive crowd that was sprawled out all over midtown, there was an endless sea of pink hats and signs with pithy slogans. People took to the streets that day to advocate for a variety of causes, including reproductive, LGBTQ, and immigrant rights as well as the indisputability of scientific evidence about climate change. Whatever one’s specific reason for being at the March was, a real sense of unity pervaded the crowd. The feeling that the marchers shared a collective purpose—to express their vision of the country as an inclusive place with an unwavering commitment to upholding democratic principles and human rights—was palpable.
Standing amidst hundreds of thousands, I felt positive about the future of America for the first time since November 8th. I’d spent the last two and a half months listening to news stories about Russian interference in our election, Trump’s unconstitutional conflicts of interest, his grossly inexperienced and/or staunch right-wing cabinet nominees, and intensely dangerous partisanship in our political culture. As someone who has only lived through periods of relative stability and sane leadership, I started to think that the result of this election was the beginning of our national apocalypse. But massive turnout at women’s marches across the nation in red states and blue, large and small urban centers as well as rural areas gives me hope that the people—ordinary Americans organized through grassroots efforts—can safeguard against abominable policies and the deterioration of our functioning democracy.
I urge those with whom I marched last Saturday to remain vigilant, organize, protest, and, when the time comes, vote. Our grave concerns about the incoming administration will not abate, especially if we are not out on the front lines fighting. So let’s make it our mission to remain a strong and present force. If we do, we’re sure to prove that love trumps hate, the future looks forward not back, and justice is the ultimate order of the universe.