As the nation was preparing to swear in the 45th president, I along with my colleagues were turning our attention towards the day after – the Women’s March on Washington. We spent the weeks leading up to the March inviting others to join our contingent to stand with the many women and families at the frontlines of the fight for equal rights and to say that we must fight different on climate change. We must put workers and families at the frontlines of pollution first. My organization Green For All put out a press statement in conjunction with the Women’s March. Several partners (Climate Parents, Emerald Cities Collaborative, Flint Rising, Green the Church, GreenLatinos, Interfaith Power & Light, Moms Clean Air Force, NextGen Climate, and the Power Shift Network) signed on to say they will put frontline families first over polluter profits. We also were marching to spread the message of the #LoveArmy in contrast to Trump’s message of hate – when it gets harder to love, love harder.
As a woman of color, I felt it was important for me to attend the March because many of the people and issues I care about are now at stake. I personally marched for my mother; she’s the proud 80-year-old matriarch of my family. Over the years, her respiratory problems have worsened - she lives on the frontlines of air pollution just outside of Atlanta. She’s unable to march (just going outside to check her mail is extremely challenging) so I was honored to march for her. I also marched for my future grandchildren. One day I plan to tell them about this historic day and what it means to stand up for what you believe is just and right.
My ‘bad hombre’ husband and I made the 60-mile drive from northern Maryland to catch the nearest DC Metro train. From the moment we pulled into the parking garage at 7am, we saw numerous pink knitted hats and people carrying signs. Little did I know, this was just a glimpse of what we were going to see once we got to the meetup location for the March. Once we departed the train, there were literally people everywhere from all walks of life with one goal that united us all – to resist the backwards direction Trump is taking our country and to make sure our collective voices were heard that day.
As time moved along, the number of people continued to grow and grow. We’d learn later that nearly half a million people attended the March – DC Metro clocked over 1 million entries that day! This is the second biggest daily volume in Metro’s 40-year history.
It took some maneuvering, but we found my Green For All and Dream Corps colleagues (Green For All is an initiative of The Dream Corps) and we waited for other friends and partners to join us. With so many people flooding DC it was nearly impossible to find anyone. Just before we began to make our way towards the rally, one of our partners, Dominique found us. She brought along her daughter and several friends. We were thrilled to see them all. It was particularly heart-warming to see so many youth who gave up their Saturday to march for justice.
I'm so glad I was there to not only witness history (largest inaugural protest ever in the U.S.), but also to see, feel and experience the incredible spirit of the day. I was struck by the shear number of people (women, men and children) who were there and the numerous signs displaying the key issues and messages people were marching for in protest to Trump. Not only were people just happy to be there, people were also showing their solidarity – your cause is my cause and we’re in this fight together against Trump. Check out Van Jones' speech at the march and our Facebook Live recap with nationally recognized social entrepreneur and Latino community advocate, Elianne Ramos.
The energy and the momentum from the Women’s March still lives on. Many people continue to make their voices heard as each day brings new attacks from the Trump administration. Last Friday in San Francisco I attended the first #LoveArmy Revival hosted by The Dream Corps. This literally was the hottest ticket in town - the event was completely sold out! People were lined up in droves down the street before we opened the doors.
I was assigned to greet people at the door, which is right up my alley. As a southerner, it’s just a natural thing for me to greet folks and make them feel right at home. But this really is more than that; it’s connecting with people and making sure they know we’re in community together. After just a week of Trump being in office, this revival provided a much-needed respite to how people were feeling now and was a way of letting folks know they’re not alone. Grammy award winning recording artist India.Arie headlined the event along with Dream Corps President and Founder, Van Jones. Both inspired everyone with their love message to lift our spirits, give us hope and say that no one can steal our joy.
Folks were able to mingle and stop at various partner and Dream Corps initiative tables and to learn more about the #LoveArmy and how to get plugged in and take action. The #LoveArmy is a movement that’s based on love and stands for human values, which is something I can get behind. I’m so glad I got a chance to attend this first #LoveArmy Revival. Plans are to host several revivals in more U.S. cities this year. Please sign up here to join the #LoveArmy and find out when a revival is coming to a city near you.
I feel truly inspired and energized right now, I had an amazing time at both of these historic events. These events are proof that remarkable things can happen when we all come together to make our voices heard and stand united in love.