When the Women's March on Washington was announced, I knew I wanted to go. I called my mother first, whose birthday is Inauguration Day (Sad! No, but like REALLY SAD!) and proposed we go together. My sister was soon on board, and then I sat down with my oldest kids, Archer (11) and Fable (8), and asked if either of them wanted to attend. I explained to them what the Women's March on Washington was about, what it represented and why it was important to me. My son was wholly supportive that we were all going but felt that it wasn't for him. My daughter was adamant and wholly certain that she wanted to go. OF COURSE she wanted to go. "I HAVE TO GO," she said.
I was thrilled. And moved. I had imagined Hillary's win for months, dreamed of how my daughters (and son!) would be affected both in the long- and short-term, not just by her plans for our country but by her being a woman. Because the leader of America has ALWAYS been symbolic of who we are as a nation. I was eager to look to HRC as a leader, as a guide and as an inspiration to me and millions of other women who dare to do what they are told cannot be done.
I voted for Hillary with my children for that reason. All of us poked the hole in the ballot together.
"One day," I thought, "they will be able to say that they were there."After the election, it physically pained me to explain that no, the bully who literally stalked HRC on stage was elected. That, yes, we live in a country where people (although not the majority) were willing to overlook that. Since then, my disgust with our president-elect has only grown. My vigilance in resisting him and everything he is associated with has only become stronger.
I have received understandable criticism from friends and family about bringing a child to a march, specifically the one in Washington D.C. I imagine that criticism will continue as it did when we marched in LA's Pride Parade last year, hours after the horrific shooting at Pulse in Florida, and though many people warned against our marching, worried for our safety (most notably, the safety of our children), we went anyway. We went for many reasons, one of them being that Hal and I felt that SHOWING UP was even more important than ever. As a family of non-marginalized privileged people, we felt that of all times to show up, THIS WAS IT.
When those who do not share our privilege feel afraid of things WE DO NOT FEAR as privileged people, we show up. We have to show up. And we have to continue to show up. At marches. Protests. Registries.
We show up because our privilege protects us in ways it doesn't protect our gay and lesbian friends, our trans and non-binary friends. Our black friends. Brown friends. Muslim friends. Disabled friends. We show up because we are HERE FOR YOU. We are here for all people who feel fear in ways we will never understand.
So no, I am not afraid.
Do not be afraid.
We cannot be afraid.
There have been several articles written about marching with children that are fantastic resources for those considering taking their kid(s) and you can find them here and here. There is also a Women's March youth initiative, which you can read about/sign up for notifications here.
And, yes, we have a plan. One must always have a plan.
"With my mother. And my grandmother. And my aunt. And thousands (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of others."
She will know, in case it isn't already clear, that just as her age didn't stop her from wanting to participate, it also didn't stop me from including her. And she will know that my need to protect her will never come before my desire to support her. To empower her. To allow her to make her own decisions when it comes to her heart, her body, her FIGHT.
And she will KNOW that no matter how dangerous the world may seem, that STANDING UP and SPEAKING OUT and UNITING WITH OTHERS in support of HUMAN DECENCY, EQUALITY AND LOVE will ALWAYS BE the right call.
She will know that NO ONE is too young—too girl—to get out there and resist what feels WRONG with what feels RIGHT.
She will know that her steps matter. That we cannot push the needle forward by standing still. That we have to push. We have to strain. We have to march. Not just on the 21st but CONSISTENTLY. We must march hand in hand, with clear eyes and open ears, fearless, hopeful, strong. We must march for a future that ensures everyone is given equal chance to find their power. And she will know that she's a part of that. She's part of THIS. She's part of EVERYTHING. We all are.