Why We March – Sacramento Women’s March 2018
By the Editors
With the second Women’s March scheduled for this Saturday (1/20 at 10am), we wanted to know WHY women march. So we asked. And here’s what we heard.
All my life, I felt like I would do big things – and I was equally encouraged to be pretty, thin, polite and find a husband to who made lots of money to take care of me.
I’ve always made people laugh, and I’ve always loved to perform. I love to act, but I loved singing the most. When I graduated high school, I dreamed of going to Juilliard for vocal music training. My parents couldn’t afford it, so they encouraged me to go to college in-state instead.
And I was miserable every minute of that first semester at Texas A&M. They didn’t even have a music department. Over the next few years, I drifted from school to school, auditioning for bands and choirs, but I never felt fully believed in. All of the bands I auditioned for were strictly male, and nobody was really interested in having a female as a lead singer, except in choir or church.
Maybe I just wasn’t very good or as creative as the others – it just always felt like I should sing back up or be a roadie. Barf.
My parents loved me and were proud of me, but I can’t count the times I was encouraged to get a “real job” and find a spouse to support me. I finally settled on a degree in Philosophy and let my dreams of becoming a musician fall by the wayside. I have done a lot of incredible things, and I am extremely happy with my accomplishments, my career and my family, but I always wonder what it would have been like to FEEL empowered.
Sometimes, I mourn what could have been. This may all sound lofty, trivial or common no matter the gender, but I am confident I would have been encouraged differently had I been male.
I now have two perfect daughters, and I am so thankful. My female being grew two precious humans who also happen to be female. I fed them and comforted them with my body – Lucy until she was 3 and Cora still nurses for comfort, and I am not ashamed. They are 2 and 4, and I march for all of us.
I want them to have the opportunity that any man in the world has, and I want them to be empowered and encouraged to be brave, strong and follow their dreams. I want them to love their bodies and be proud of what they can and will accomplish. I love this life, and I march to make it better for my two little women and for women all over the world.
She arrived in a cloud of blue glitter… My friend stomped up the stairs to my apartment with a sparkling sign that read “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.” We munched on toast and gulped orange juice as we packed our bags with water bottles and CLIF Bars. We jumped on BART and headed for Oakland, where more than 100,000 marchers were expected on January 21, 2017.
It was chaos. When we finally filed out of the station, we crushed into an ocean of pink pussy hats, raised fists, and the most meaningful signs I’d ever seen. “We will not go back quietly to the 1950s!” “Sisterhood Is Powerful.” “This is Ludicrous! GOP, Get Out of My Uterus!” Toddlers sat on their mothers’ shoulders. Helicopters whirred overhead. The streets pounded with sisterhood.
Finally, we inched forward. Our steps widened in undulating and irregular waves. Finally, we moved as one—a mass, a march. At first, I was self-conscious. My friend and another woman we’d met were quiet, reflective, observant. Their signs bobbed with every step. I had no sign. What was my part? What was my message? How do I do this?
It took several blocks before I tried my voice. I joined a chant: “My body! My choice!” It was simple, but I believed it. I grew louder. I screamed. I hurt. The women and men around me shouted in anger; entire groups stopped and embraced; children twirled. “Say it loud, say it clear: Refugees are welcome here!” We bellowed with determination, for ourselves and for the America we believe in. We flowed with togetherness.
Millions of marchers became one that day in cities and small communities across the world. I was welcomed in Oakland. In 2018, I return to my hometown of Sacramento to march for the first time, with my seven-year-old niece in tow. She wants a sign. She will observe. Maybe she will shout. We will all move, together. We are woman.
My head hung slightly low, my eyes varying from just below eye level of those around me to staring directly at my dad’s peace-sign high-top Chucks. The air was tense in 2001 when I attended my first protest.
During the year following my high school graduation and the terror attacks of 9/11, our country was in a disparate state: people were dumping French fries onto the streets and burning Dixie Chicks CD’s because those who were outspoken against the war were “un-American.”
But I had spent hours on my protest sign, mentioning everyone I knew who had selflessly volunteered to serve our country, but whom I could not in good conscience send to a war I didn’t’ believe in.
The words “Identification Technician” on the back of the uniforms of the peace officers, video cameras in their hands, made me feel insecure and uncomfortable. But this war was something I couldn’t send my friends (or anyone) to fight, so my family protested because it was the only choice we had.
Fast forward 15 years and there we were again: making signs, protesting. But this was different.
Friends would never have thought of picking up a marker were the ones with the most creative signs. Friends who might have otherwise walked away at the mention of a hot button political issue were now bringing their children to march, explaining to them the importance of their actions.
20+ people crowded into my little house, adding last minute touches and discussing what we would do AFTER that day. We gathered, swapping ideas about how to make our world better, instead of dwelling on what we could not change.
How would we get young people to vote? How could we get women to run? How would we GET WOMEN TO WIN?
Our small efforts came together to make an impact felt around the world. Our voices were not only unsilenced; they were multiplied beyond our wildest dreams.
Back then, we fought from the fringe.
Now, though we may not agree on everything, or even many things, we can agree that women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and minority rights, all of our rights are human rights.
My dad, in his peace sign Converse, would have been amazed at how far our world had come in the last decade and a half. Thank you to everyone who made that day one where we stood unwaveringly proud to be Americans.
I march because every single one of us is important. Because every one of us deserves equal rights. Every one of us has a voice. I march because together, we are mighty.
When the timing of the first Women’s March was announced for January 21, 2017, I was disappointed as I realized I wouldn’t be able to attend. One of my best friends had already planned her bridal shower for that date, and I had a flight booked to make sure I attended. While I was thrilled to celebrate an amazing woman, I was discouraged to miss this moment.
As the day came and went, I watched on marches all over unfold on social media. I was moved by the photos and posts by people in my network and around the globe. More than anything, it was the photos of the young girls in attendance that touched me. Like many, the election left me disheartened, and watching the Women’s March, even from afar, gave me a touch of hope that has continued to grow through the year.
Women across the globe continue to stand up and say we’ve had enough. And it’s confirmed that I would attend this next Women’s March, since there was no doubt that there would be one. I’m excited and nervous. This will be the first true protest or march I will have attended, and I’m not sure what it will be like. But, I can’t wait to find out!
Last year’s Women’s March 2017 was a day about hope and resilience. I was born and raised in Sacramento, and it was a day that made me so proud of this community. Seeing so many humans from all walks of life join in support was inspiring and incredibly emotional.
I brought my 2 ½ year old daughter because it was important for me to show her the strength and power of women – and the men who love and support us. So many faces of the women that have been in this fight long before me, as well as the little ones that will continue on after us.
Walking along with so much heart made me incredibly emotional. Reading the signs with so many reasons why they were there was overwhelming, and I was in tears almost the whole walk. It is an indescribable feeling, a feeling I hope every women can experience. Love, hope, unity and perseverance. I can’t wait to participate and share it with my daughter and loved ones again this Saturday!
Laura Braden Quigley
The second I heard about the Women’s March in 2017, I thought “Ok, this is it. This is the moment. THIS will be my first march/protest.” …The only problem was that I was on week 2 of a 6-week recovery for double foot surgery. Although a sweet friend offered to find me a wheelchair, the size of the crowds and pain kept me at home.
So I experienced the Women’s March from the couch cheering everyone through my computer screen. That’s right, thanks to the magic of technology, I channeled my FOMO into real-time social media for GOTG and a Storify to capture some of the best moments/signs from the day.
As weird as it may sound, it was still a profound and emotional experience for me. The sign that really made me tear up was a 95-year-old veteran – wheelchair bound and grinning from ear to ear. The pride on her face – and when you reflect on how much the world has changed since she was born – seemed particularly poignant to me. And it made me wish I’d had more conversations with my grandmothers on their experiences while they were alive.
I don’t see this fight as women versus men. This is about standing up for human issues – about fundamental rights, decency, empowerment and respect. Oprah nailed it, “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have” …the key words being “we ALL have”.
And while I’ll be out of town for work (seriously?? am I really missing this again??), I’ll be watching y’all speak your truth through clever signs and social media posts (for a new Storify, of course) and cheering each one of you on! (PS – there’s going to be a third year….right?!?!)
I was one of those people who kept uncontrollably bursting into tears the day after the 2016 presidential election. My head hurt, but my heart hurt more. How could this happen, I kept asking myself. Nothing made any sense any more. The women’s empowerment outfit I had worn that day hadn’t made a difference.
So, like many of my peers, I was angry, frustrated and ready to march. And an awesome friend made it super convenient to do so; she invited friends and family to her house before the march, shuttled folks to the start and had drinks and food at her house once it was over.
The sheer volume of people who were waiting in Southside Park amazed me. I was surrounded on all sides by people who wanted to take a stand. Who wanted to say that they weren’t OK with what was happening in their country, because it wasn’t the country they knew and loved. To come together stronger, and more united than ever. It was palpable that day and is something I won’t soon forget. The fun came from our united front, that shared sense of solidarity, oh and the hilarious and clever signs people made.
This year I will be marching again. I will march for women, for the LGBT community, for Black lives, for dreamers, just to name a few. I will march because I live in a country that gives me the right to do so. I will march in the hopes that one day soon we won’t have to keep marching to demand equity, to fight back against fear mongering politicians working to dismantle our healthcare system, the environment and our relationships with the rest of the world. That’s why I’ll be marching and I hope you’ll be marching too.
The November 2016 election results left me a raw emotional mess that I had no way of preparing for. To say that I was devastated would be a severe understatement. Roughly two weeks postpartum, I felt things on a whole other level. And the crying – well we just won’t go there. Needless to say, I was at a point of despair – despite all of the amazing things happening in my personal life at the time – I was overwhelmed by the complete feeling of dread I had for what was happening on a national level.
Which is why attending the Women’s March last year was so important for me. I joined approximately 20,000 people (and two of my best friends) to march for things I believed in – things we all believed in. There was an immense sense of solidarity, hope, and celebration – something I desperately needed to feel at such a low point.
I can’t effectively articulate all of the feelings I had that day, but the positive impact that march had on my mental health was monumental. It helped to pull me out of an ineffectual fog and into the resistance many of us are so much a part of. Things have definitely changed this past year with women embarking on a new day. I am looking forward to this year’s march and what it will again signify to the world – but more importantly, what it signifies to me.
BONUS: One Dad weighs in on why it was so important to take his daughters while his wife was at work.
As the father of two daughters, my greatest desire is to raise my children to have enough self-esteem to weather the storms life will bring. My wife and I try to raise them to be compassionate, respectful, and empathetic. In early 2017, my wife and older daughter were becoming increasingly disillusioned by the fact that these values were not being demonstrated in public conversations, especially on Social Media.
On the day of the march and my wife and younger daughter were very disappointed that they were unavailable. I however was, and I drove my daughter, Ruby, a 16 year old junior in high school to join in. As we walked to the park, she beamed with pride, and I was proud to be there to support her.
I was struck by the feeling of joy and love as we walked through the park. As I ran in to many familiar faces, men and women, I introduced Ruby to friends and acquaintances I have made through the years. Though a day of protest, the atmosphere did not feel angry. It felt like a celebration of virtues; all of the virtues we try to instill in our children. That they, as young women, are valuable; that love, compassion, and respect are all worthy ideals. Ruby holds these values, and the march showed her that while it may not always feel true, she is not alone.
This year I will march again, this time by the sides of all three of my girls.
Check out our STORIFY from 2017 – and we’ll see you this weekend! 🙂