Written by NMLFF Ambassador Dana Wilfahrt on the 2017 Women's March in Washington DC. All photos by Tee Smith.
I’ve sat down to write this many times but the events of the week and dismay in our country has left me feeling uninspired and a bit frustrated. Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to try not to rain on my own parade…
I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Women’s March on DC last weekend with a group of aware, thoughtful, intelligent, peaceful, loving women and men who I’m lucky enough to call my friends.
With an alpine start from Portland, ME on Friday morning, 14 friends and I piled in our rented van-bus and drove and drove and ate and didn’t drink water (it would have added at least 5 more stops) and drove some more. 14 and a half hours later we landed in D.C. feeling car tired but energized with the buzz of juxtaposition in the political capital of the country.
Saturday morning slowly approached, as excited anxiety always seems to slow time. A day of unity, blood (frozen snot), sweat (shivers) and tears (tears) was about to begin. The walk over to the rally site was welcoming as groundskeepers of the city clapped and cheered, and thanked and photographed the sea of proud smiles and pink “cat” hats.
Two amazing things happened while the rally took place pre-march:
1. Total silence. The speaker closest to our spot in the school of sardines stopped working after the first speech by America Ferrera. Bummer. The group around us – close to two thousand people – grew absolutely silent. You could’ve heard a pin drop. Never before had I been a part of a group that, when silence was necessary, every single person obliged. All outdoor explorers know, silence is the easiest way to listen; not to hear, but to listen.
2. Conscious noise. When noise was necessary, it was done so with purpose. No anger. Peace offerings to your neighbors (snacks), laughter and meaningful conversations filled the crowd. It was pure magic. Maybe not magic though, maybe just how living beings naturally treat each other. As the great Cyndi Lauper said, “anger is not better clarity and humanity. That is what opens people’s minds”. Thank you, Cyndi.
I traveled with 15 friends but quickly realized upon arrival that every person there was a friend. Do you remember those characteristics that I listed my friends as having earlier? Well, all 2.5 million people that showed up to marches across the country value those characteristics too. (I almost wrote “the people that showed up to marches across the country possess those characteristics”, but c’mon, everybody possesses those qualities.) We were all there together – not necessarily with common beliefs or interests, but a common intention: the intention to spread peace and respect. Respect in a peaceful way. Peace respectfully.
Additional Reading for the 2018 Women's March
Find Events Near You. Women's March Official Website.
Women’s March Returns a Year Later, as Movement Evolves. The New York Times.