Last November, I bought a plane ticket to Washington D.C. for the inaugural Women’s March. Devastated by Trump’s win, I wanted to feel like I was doing something – like I was standing up to the hatred that was infecting our White House. I decided to go on a whim; it was a snap decision. I had no idea that one weekend was going to completely change my life.
I arrived at the airport on the day of my trip to find it swarming with police. For the first time since the idea popped into my head, I thought, “What have I gotten myself into? Will I be safe? Is marching in protest against President Trump worth the risk to my wellbeing? Am I at risk of being arrested? How will I explain an arrest on my bar application?” As I got closer and closer to my departure gate, the security presence continued to increase; bomb-sniffing dogs and not-your-average airport security personnel were everywhere.
My fears vanished when I saw, waiting at my gate, a sea of pink pussy hats cheering together “Hey-hey, ho-ho, patriarchy has got to go.” The friendly, cheerful, and polite atmosphere continued throughout the flight. I usually avoid talking to my neighbors on planes, but not this one. The 11-year-old girl next to me explained that she and her mom decided to go at the last minute because her mom wanted to instill in her the power of standing up for herself and finding her voice. The whole plane erupted with cheers when we landed. As we disembarked, we walked past the people who attended the inauguration and were waiting to board, our pink pussy hats contrasting with their red-trucker hats as we strolled by in awkward silence.
On the day of the march, I met up with Amanda, my big sis from my sorority days, and her friends, Andrea, Patrick, and Debra, and we made the trek to the starting point. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life. We got as close to the stage as we could (which was still too far to see it even after climbing on top of a platform), and we chanted, and we chanted, and we chanted. There were thousands of marchers as far as I could see, all raising their voices in chants of love, empowerment, and a dedication to standing up against hate. Patrick created his own chants on the fly. His leadership, creativity, and booming voice made him a natural chant leader of our area. News finally spread that the march had been cancelled because so many people had shown up and the march route wouldn’t accommodate us. Despite this news, we didn’t turn home. Without saying a word, we all started walking, taking our own route, to the White House. As we passed the US Mint, Andrea got emotional about the banners announcing that Harriet Tubman would be on the twenty-dollar bill. It was a vivid illustration of how far we had fallen in just a few short months. Along the way we high-fived police officers who did an amazing job partnering with us to keep everyone safe (in fact, because we were making our own routes to the White House, we often had to stand and wait while police built new barricades to direct our march – their work was celebrated and appreciated!). I marched alongside divas, grandmas, daughters, brothers, allies, and even a wolf.
We got as close to the White House as we could before deciding it was time to go home. Despite being tired, cold, sore, and hoarse, we felt empowered, uplifted, and safe. The chaos of the days leading up to the march faded as a strong community of sisters and brothers marched in peace and solidarity. We also felt extraordinarily accomplished. I was proud of myself and my crew that we had the courage to stand up for something we felt so strongly about. And of course, we also felt amused by the hilarious signs (Yo no quiero un wall!). We were still heartbroken about our beloved country’s leadership, but we came away with a sense of resolve to continue fighting day-after-day against things we know to be wrong.
I returned to Denver fired up and ready to make real changes in my life, some big and some small. I was determined to stay in closer touch with my friends and to allow their success and brilliance to inspire me. I committed to continually ask myself the question, “What’s next?” which led me to the airport the following weekend to provide legal services to those who had been unconstitutionally detained by Trump’s Muslim ban. The “what’s next” question also led me to invite Jennifer to brunch to discuss what we were going to do to continue to make a difference in our community. The result of that brunch, of course, was InvestHER.
Throughout the past year, there have been hundreds of news reports detailing how women have stepped up to lead the next generation of America. We celebrate the successes that womankind and InvestHER have had in the past year and look forward to continuing the fight in 2018. We cannot think of a better way of launching our 2018 efforts than lacing up our sneakers to march again.
We hope you will join InvestHER on January 20th at the first anniversary Women’s March in Denver. In addition, we hope you join us at our celebration and sign-making party on January 18th in Boulder.
Written by Jordan Henry, FoundHER of InvestHER.