It’s one thing to protest for a cause — and another to do it in the nation’s capital. I’d done the former a few times, but when my mom told me she would pay for my plane ticket to Cleveland so we could drive down to DC together, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Especially when it was a perfect opportunity to re-wear my scariest Halloween costume yet: a red handmaid’s dress, from Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale.
When I marched in Denver last year, my husband asked me what the point was — not to be a jerk, but because he was curious. I think he was concerned I’d get caught in the crosshairs of a protest gone wild, with pepper spray and the risk of getting arrested. I assured him that not only would I march responsibly, but that I didn’t expect to suddenly end the Trump presidency overnight, or see any other immediate social change. Protests in years past have had that effect, but that’s not why I wanted to go.
Even as someone who hates crowds, I marched mainly for the solidarity of being with other people who are just as angry, fed up, and hungry for justice. I marched to be reminded that, for all the ugliness in the news, love is still powerful and alive.
I saw men holding signs that they were marching for their wives and daughters.
I saw parents holding signs declaring their love for their LGBT kids, and children holding signs declaring their love for their two moms and two dads.
I saw white people holding Black Lives Matter signs and proclaiming their history as descendants of immigrants.
I saw unity and intersectionality in ways I did not expect — especially given the rumors of anti-semitism among the event organizers. For that reason, many of my Jewish friends did not march. My mom also had misgivings about it, and wrestled for weeks about whether to cancel the trip.
We decided to march on because, for us, the message behind the march was bigger than the unsavory beliefs of a select few. To paraphrase a quote I saw on Twitter, if you want an event to be more intersectional, you can’t just wait for it to happen: you have to make it intersectional by showing up and participating. Sometimes that’s uncomfortable. But sometimes it’s necessary.
Cleveland Jewish News wrote a piece on my mom’s reasons for marching here (I get a cameo).
As I’ve written before, I believe that social justice is a critical piece of the gospel- it’s not very often that I break out of my introvert box, and in this way, I felt I was doing something more productive that retweeting another quote on Twitter.
We happened to run into several people holding signs identifying their Jewish identities and allyship with Hebrew quotes and Stars of David. Of course we stopped to talk to them, and their reasons for showing up were basically the same as ours.
The only thing I wish I could change about the weekend was my cold: being out all day in 20-degree weather didn’t help much.
Also, can we please bring capes back into fashion?