#whyimarch

8:40 PM







Happy Sunday, all!

The first week of this new administration has been...

There's a lot of words I could use to describe it, but I'm honestly overwhelmed by the disgusting things I've seen in the last week. There is a lot of hatred, division, and fear going around right now. I admit that I'm scared and angry. It's hard to talk about a time when I felt hopeful and empowered when so much has changed since then. But I'm going to do it, because it's important.  Let's talk about it now, huh?

The Women's March.

I could summarize my day at The Women's March. I could tell you about getting up early, waiting hours for a train, being stuck in big crowds, my claustrophobia rising up. I could tell you I walked miles, I yelled until my voice was hoarse, that I enjoyed the day with friends despite all of us having a severe hangry moment at around five where I nearly yelled in someone's face.

But none of those things would encapsulate the thing that's most important: the reason why I marched, and how participating made me feel.

I'm new to protests, I'll admit. In my twenties, when most people did a big chunk of protesting, I didn't understand the power of protest. I lived in a bubble. I felt like doing my 9-5 as a social worker was enough. Going to law school was enough.

Then about a year and a half ago, a friend invited me to join her for a Saturday solidarity protest at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Annapolis. My job? Stand in silence surrounded by pro-life protesters holding a sign supporting Planned Parenthood. I had a man in my ear sharing ridiculous opinions comparing fetuses to slaves, and the repeated singing of Amazing Grace and loud praying going on all around me. I held that sign for three hours without saying a single word.

It was an exhilarating experience.

Flash-forward through months of law school, elections, and new jobs. Last November, after 45 was elected, I knew I needed to get out of my house. I'd been in a depressive state for days. I'd cried more than my share of tears. I felt powerless and kind of alone (even if I knew I wasn't). I made the decision to get out and join the anti-Trump protest. One of my good friends from law school and I went out and walked for miles, holding signs and screaming out our frustration into protest chants. We made friends, we laughed, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was doing something powerful.

And then last Saturday. Just being out in DC surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people in solidarity. I saw so many different types of feminists out there, my head actually spun. We held hands, we marched. I felt different than I had, like I had been a part of something.

Some people believe that just marching does nothing. And they're a little right. Being a weekend marcher isn't going to stop bad laws from being passed. It isn't going to change the law overnight. It's not going to make an administration hell bent on "alternative facts" change its mind.

But I'm going to tell you one thing: marching does something.

It helps the soul. Marching isn't just walking and holding a sign. It's getting out of your comfort zone, surrounding yourself with like-minded people, and escaping the recesses of your brain, if only for a few hours. It's knowing that you're not alone. It's being able to literally step away from feeling powerless, if only for a brief moment.

It helps the mind. Marching isn't just shutting off. It's engaging with others. It's hearing different perspectives. It's understanding that your own perspective may be limited and that you can make a choice to do something different going forward.

It helps your voice. Not literally-I'm a loud one, so normally my vocal chords are kinda shattered the day after. What I mean is it helps your voice as a person. Marching, speaking up, speaking out-it is empowering. It makes you want to do more. It helps you to know that your voice is joined with others, and that makes it less scary to speak. It helps your fellow humans whose voices may not have the same power as the one your privilege has given you. Your voice is amplified so that when you go home and have to speak a little more on your own, you can.

I marched for a lot of reasons last weekend. I marched for me, my own fears as a woman on the LGBT spectrum. I marched for my friends, whose fears are real and justified. I marched to have my voice heard. I marched to lift up the voices of those who today are still not heard because they do not have the privileges I do as a white cisgender woman. I marched because standing up for what's right is important, even if it means that I'm a little sore the next day. I marched for love, truth, and unity. And I will march again in a heartbeat. 

xoxo

Carisa 

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