Monday, January 23, 2017

The Women's March on Washington (from Mexico)

On Saturday, I piled into a crowded taxi-van with fourteen other women and men to drive to San Pancho – a small touristy beach town near Porta Vallerta. We were all wearing bits of white, (which is very rare for cruisers.) My white t-shirt was a relic from South Africa, and I found it at the bottom of my clothing locker, covered in cat hair, with the tag still attached, smelling faintly of mould.

As we drove through the junglely landscape, we talked. We talked about a certain orange president with veerrry small hands, and how we were not going to let him ‘take America back’. For a while, the atmosphere was slightly angry. They took our country. They want to take our rights. But gradually, as we got closer to San Pancho, it shifted. They can’t take our country, because we’re not moving. It’s our country too

When we arrived, we found a soccer field filled with white. There were pink baseball caps with ears, (the summer version of the pussyhats) there were anatomically correct vagina posters declaring ‘THIS GRABS BACK’, there were flower crowns and rainbow makeup and hand painted ‘Love Trumps Hate’ signs. There were women with canes and girls clinging on to their mother’s leg. There were daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives… we were all there. 

I was handed a poster by an elderly woman in a flower crown and an embroidered dress who smiled at me. A group of young women asked me to take their photo in front of the crowd. The atmosphere was excited, joyful, and profoundly loving. 

As we walked through the streets with our signs, chanting ‘Mujars, mujars, arriva la mujars’ (The women, the women, the women have arrived), people popped out on their balcony with cameras, smiled at us from the sidewalks, and some even joined the crowd threading through the narrow streets to the town square. 

I talked to a woman who’d been going to protests since she was thirteen, I smiled at a man with a ‘Tweet me with respect’ poster, and I bemoaned the creation of the electoral college by Alexander Hamilton with an ex history teacher, (although we also talked about our love for the musical, Hamilton). 

It was much bigger than I had expected. I thought maybe a few hundred people would show up, but there were over a thousand. 

And now, watching figures roll in from around the world of the attendees of all the marches, I feel energised. The past few weeks have been a numb parade of cabinet appointments and childish tweets from the president-elect, but now I feel ready. We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to keep on our feet, and we’re all going to keep demanding our rights. 

Black, white, trans, cis, gay, straight, woman, man, atheist, Christian … we are strong, and brave, and we can do this. 

So thank you to everyone who marched, to everyone who opened their homes to marchers that they didn't know, to people who created beautiful posters, to people who post the patterns for their pussyhats online, to people who simply didn't vote Trump. Thank you for making this world a little more loving. 

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