Politics this past year have been rough on everyone. No matter what side of the political spectrum you fell into in this past election, you probably felt some form of disappointment with your candidate or with the political process. With everything going on, we felt the need to stand up for our rights, to be a reminder that we are the majority and that we are watching.
The excitement for the day really started out the night before. Anna and I were waiting on our friends from the ESC program in NYC to arrive. Around 11, we found out that their bus full of protestors had broken down just south of the Maryland/Pennsylvania border. Deciding not to wait for a backup bus, we set out to rescue them. Following our GPS we ended up on a windy little backroad completely covered in fog. It definitely set the mood for how inauguration day had made many of us feel.
But through the ominous fog (and with checking the GPS every 5 seconds) we finally made it tot the rest-stop they were stuck at. As we pulled up to the bus, we could see different groups of people all over the
parking lot, trying to find transportation to DC for the next day. We even had a couple people asking us if we could take anyone with us. We found our friends Rachel and Hannah and safely made it back to Baltimore.
The next day started very early. Our bus left at 7am (which if you know me, you know I’m barely functioning by 10am) so we had to get up pretty early to make it in time. We got to Redeemer just in time to meet our group leader and board the buses. Everyone was really excited and the bus buzzed with energy as we sped off toward DC.
When our bus got to DC, we circled the stadium before we parked. It was incredible to see the sheer amount of people walking towards the capitol. It was a sea of pink hats. We stepped off the bus and joined the throng headed toward the metro. The platform was completely packed and we all piled into the train. Once on the train they told us there were so many people at the station closest to the rally point that they were closing the station and we should plan to get off somewhere else.
We got off at the Capitol and once again joined the masses of people headed towards the march. It took us close to an hour to make it off the platform. Trains were arriving every few minutes and added more and more people to our masses. The energy was so potent you could feel it in the air. Every so often someone would start up a chant and we would all chant and cheer and wave at the passing trains. The chanting continued as we made our way down the street, passing the Capitol, before finally arriving at 3rd and Independence.
We spent the next few hours wandering through the crowds. Our group got separated at one point, but we eventually all wandered back together. We eventually found ourselves caught up in a crowd stuck behind the Native American Museum. Everywhere we went you could see people admiring each other’s signs and outfits, discussing their reasons for marching, and coming together to protest as one. The energy was so positive and everywhere we went people were so warm and welcoming to each other. One woman showed up in a Trump hat followed by a man with a camera trying to stir up an argument. They were met with polite disagreement and soon left because they could not get the spiteful response they wanted.
The energy grew more restless as we approached the start time for the march. The word spread that there were too many people on the parade route already so we could not march that way. People got more and more restless, and eventually we just took off in our own direction. We followed the crowd up Pennsylvania Ave. towards the White House, following the same route that the Inaugural Parade had taken the day before. It was incredible to watch as the bleachers along the route fill up with spectators and marchers alike. As we marched along our voices joined as one with all the different chants from the day. For awhile me marched near a family with two adorable tiny girls who were some of the biggest voices of the group. They lead the chants and everyone around them couldn’t help but to join in.
We made it almost to the White House before we had to return to the bus. We took the metro back from Federal Triangle. The vibe was still completely positive as people helped each other figure out which way they needed to go to get back home. We were all exhausted by the time we made it back to the bus, but you could still tell that everyone was excited and happy with the events of the day. People were swapping stories and sharing snacks as we waited for the bus to leave. By the time we got on the highway though, everybody had settled in and most of us had fallen asleep.
All in all it was an amazing experience. One that will live on in our memories forever. The fight still isn’t over though. Watching the events that have taken place since the march, there is still plenty more work to do. It is up to us as citizens of this country to keep our government in check. The organizers of the march have put together the next 10 actions to be taken in the first 100 days. So get involved, and help us keep fighting for the rights of all people. Together we really can make America great! This is what democracy looks like!