This Saturday half a million men and women descended into the nation’s capital to show their support for women’s rights a day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated. There were zero arrests and zero violence. It was civil, polite, and crowded with 100% cooperation with police.
The marches were not confined to Washington. Women and men in cities around the globe marched in solidarity including Sydney, Berlin, London, Paris, Nairobi and Cape Town. Participation was high. In Los Angeles, organizers expected 80,000 people to attend. 750,000 people showed up. In Chicago, organizers canceled the march portion of their event for safety reasons because of an overflow crowd that reached an estimated 250,000. Half the town of Stanley, Idaho (population 63) came out in a snowstorm to march in peace and solidarity. In Lubbock, Texas, the second most conservative city in the United States, men and women marched during a dust storm.
It was the biggest inaugural protest in history.
My sister and I marched with my friend Liza in Philadelphia where 20,000 people were estimated to attend.
50,000 showed up instead.
My sister snapped this right before we got onto a train packed so full of women that we couldn’t let anyone on for the next 15 stops.
The vibe was positive, peaceful, and resilient. We marched next to men, women, and children of every color and every age. There was a lot of smiling, kindness, and camaraderie. There was also the overwhelming feeling of look at what we can do and where is the nearest bathroom.
Critics have questioned the intent of the march.
I marched because gender shouldn’t determine your paycheck. Because paid family leave benefits everyone. Because sexual assault should never be normalized. Because it’s not just locker room talk. Because I have two sons and a daughter. Because when women thrive, societies rise.
And yeah, I also marched because even though I believe life starts at conception, abortion rates are at an all time low because of affordable birth control and clinics like Planned Parenthood.
Despite what the internet may tell you, there was room for everyone.
It was a great day but it’s also just the beginning. If we’ve learned anything from this past year it’s to listen, pay attention, and move our feet. The greatest threat to peace and justice are not those who voted for Donald Trump, but those who didn’t vote at all.
Silence = approval.
We will not be silent.
You can find dozens of lists on what to do now that the march and inauguration are over. For me, it makes most sense to focus on a few specific issues and keep my ear to the ground for how I can help right here in my town.
On Saturday we marched as a message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights. That defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
A heartfelt thank you to those who worked tirelessly to make these marches happen around the world.
As always, love trumps hate.
I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. -Audre Lorde
The last time I went to a march, Waylon was the size of a poppy seed and I needed exactly zero babysitters before hopping in the car to D.C. Times were tense then and they are still tense now.
From Jon Stewart’s speech six years ago:
“We hear every damned day about how fragile our country is, on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done. The truth is, we do! We work together to get things done every damned day! The only place we don’t is here (in Washington) or on cable TV!
But Americans don’t live here, or on cable TV. Where we live, our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done–not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.
Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often something they do not want to do! But they do it. Impossible things, every day, that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.
(Points to video screen, showing video of cars in traffic.) Look on the screen. This is where we are, this is who we are. These cars. That’s a schoolteacher who probably think his taxes are too high, he’s going to work. There’s another car, a woman with two small kids, can’t really think about anything else right now… A lady’s in the NRA, loves Oprah. There’s another car, an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter; another car, a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan.
But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief, and principles they hold dear–often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers’. And yet, these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze, one by one, into a mile-long, 30-foot-wide tunnel, carved underneath a mighty river.
And they do it, concession by concession: you go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. ‘Oh my God–is that an NRA sticker on your car?’ ‘Is that an Obama sticker on your car?’ It’s okay–you go, then I go.
And sure, at some point, there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder, and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare, and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst!
Because we know, instinctively, as a people, that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light, we have to work together. And the truth is there will always be darkness, and sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land.
Sometimes, it’s just New Jersey.”
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t march for human rights, call our representatives, or keep our eyes and ears sharp. It just means we are in New Jersey.
(Miss you Jon. xo)
PPS: In case you didn’t go on Saturday but wanted to, the protest is actually four years long so come on down.