On January 13 I decided to reroute my ticket on a previously planned trip to New Orleans and the East Coast so that I could participate in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21. It was almost a spur of the moment thing – but on reflection I realized that over the past several weeks I had been building up quite a head of steam that now forced me to stand up for democracy and civil rights.
I discovered through social media that a number of other Juneau residents were also planning a trip to DC for the same purpose and set up a Facebook group for us to share information and news. Quickly, I found 18 Juneauites with plans to be in the nation’s capital to participate in this historic March in Washington.
By the time I left home on January 19, the Women’s March website listed over 600 local Marches that would be taking place in solidarity all over the world, including 16 in Alaska. Over a million participants were expected in these local Marches. The Washington, DC, March alone had over 200,000 people registered. I felt proud to be part of this group – several of whom I knew, and others I came to know as a result of my trip.
Someone asked me why I felt so motivated to go. Here is what I said: “I’m an immigrant citizen (been here since 1962) and am dedicated to keeping a functioning democracy as well as the value of public service (in which I spent almost all of my professional career). I’m 78 in a few weeks and got my life and career training with the League of Women Voters in the D.C. area. My third child (adopted 48 years ago) is black and I have first hand experience of the racism embedded in American life. I was an active citizen many decades ago, and have long retired from such involvement – but now the time has come for all of us to be engaged in protecting democracy for the future.”
Something big is happening. The arc of history is hard to discern among the details and detritus of daily living. I doubt if I will live long enough to understand the future ramifications of what we, individually and collectively, are currently doing. But that is how history is made.
It’s a fascinating story of how this March came to be, and much of it can be found on the Women’s March website. Below is a January 17 Press Release by the March organizers. There are some big participation numbers in here. And, who knows how many more people will decide at the very last minute to be involved.