For thirty-seven hours, the women of Traverse City on Bus No. One, slept on hard seats, endured fuel stops at odd hours, and breathed diesel fogged air on the way to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. With aching backs, swollen ankles, gripping cups of cold coffee, we dropped onto the streets of D.C., dazed but jubilant in blazing, slogan covered pink shirts, our “pussy hat ears” perked to full attention.
Holding firm to our March Buddy’s hand, we joined the chanting crowds: “this is what democracy looks like!” In a sea of churning humanity, men, women, kids, dogs, teachers, nurses, union members, immigrants, minorities, gays and straights held up banners and signs that asserted their basic human rights and civil liberties. My favorite was a little girl of Asian descent whose brightly lettered sign declared: “Maybe I’m just a little girl…but I’m a little girl with Great Big Plans!” Too little to fully understand her parent’s hopes for her, I vowed to work to ensure that she, and all of America’s children, realize their dreams and become the best that they can be.
For me, some of the most impactful experiences occurred while riding that cramped, uncomfortable bus with women in close proximity sharing food, toiletries and stories of victories achieved and hardships still to be overcome. Over the bus intercom Jessica, a twenty-one-year-old NMC college student shared her on-going struggle to convict the man who raped her. How joining the March made her realize that she is not alone, making her ordeal somehow lighter to bear. And Lynn, recently returned from six years in Cape Town, South Africa, described how participating in this historic moment made her feel truly proud to be an American after suffering from the United States tarnished image overseas for so many years.
As for myself, participation in the March meant meeting real women and men face-to-face, with the same cares and fears I have, joined together to send a message to the powers that be, legislators whose ears are so often stopped up with black money from special interests, who have for too long, ignored what most Americans are demanding: sensible gun control, clean air, clean water, enriched public education, renewed infrastructure, protection of civil liberties, healthcare coverage for all, development of clean energy, and attention to the looming threat of human caused climate change to name just a few.
I returned home feeling encouraged and uplifted, ready to renew my commitment to resist the draconian agenda of Trump and his mean-spirited minions. Feeling reassured that if we stay united in this cause, if we stay focused, do not allow our energy’s to be distracted, if we do not falter in our erstwhile intent, we shall succeed in holding steadfast to our shared American dreams, ensuring that our children and grandchildren inherit a future as free, bright and prosperous as they choose to make it.