I was always an activist. I questioned. I pushed boundaries. I protested naps and bedtimes and the percentage of green stuff on my plate. I started clubs to fight injustice and at age 7 led a revolt of angry Brownies who felt it wasn’t right that we didn’t get at least one box of cookies for free. We also wanted to go camping instead of learning cross stitch. (I wasn’t in Brownies for long). Sometimes I was victorious like when my high school acquiesced and allowed the formation of a QSA (Queer Straight Alliance). Other times I was less successful like my failed attempt to petition for a more relaxed dress code at the label company I worked for one summer. (If you have ever tried to file heavy folders in floor drawers while bring forced to wear nylons and a skirt, you will feel my pain.)
My activism turned political in 2003 and has never looked back. I have written letters and held signs. I have signed things and begged for signatures. I have worked phone banks and phoned representatives until their admins knew me by voice. I have donated time, money, energy… And I have marched. In rallies, in peaceful gatherings, in nearly silent moments filled with flickering candle light… and in angry loud protests where the thud of our feet on the pavement felt like it would split the earth.
In the last few weeks I have been privileged to march in Fresno multiple times; at the Women’s March the day after DJT ascended to the presidency, at the coordinated events protesting the Muslin Ban, and at the Support Planned Parenthood march last week. In all cases I had people ask me what I felt the point was, why I was bothering.
I march because I want to use all my tools to fight injustice and I have a loud voice and healthy feet.
At the rallies I saw people who were old hands at marching with their comfy shoes and their dog eared signs; people whose faces I recognized from countless other marches in the past.
And I saw new people, hesitant people. People who held no sign but held space with their very bodies; people who chanted softly and avoided eye contact but smiled to themselves as they headed toward their cars afterwards.
I saw children and people stooped with age. I saw healthy people and those too sick to stand or walk or breathe without assistance. I saw families and people walking alone, flitting from one clump to another. I saw all the colors of the racial rainbow and all the letters under the rainbow flag. I heard multiple languages. I saw community leaders and held hands with strangers.
That is why I march. Because no matter all the stuff we don’t agree on or have in common… when we march we have decided to be in one place with one message and with one voice we chant into the sky. The sounds we make, the vibrations of our feet, and the siren song of the megaphones fill the air and echo in our hearts long after we have gone home. We are connected and we are community if only for a moment. We can make change for we are mighty and we cannot be ignored.
I march because it matters