I had forgotten how good it feels to be with a group of individuals who remind me of the good in this world, that all is not lost, that we are strong and capable, and shall not accept a United States that is unequal, unjust, and uncaring toward the people it serves domestically or globally.
Tahera Ahmad, Associate Chaplain and Director of Interfaith Engagement, Northwestern University, launched the speeches by explaining eloquently in English the meaning of a Muslim chant about “people connecting” and then sang it for us. I closed my eyes, let myself feel the sun on my face, and lived in the melodic moment.
Twenty-six speakers came to the mic in the hour-and-a-half long rally. Main take aways were as follows:
- We need more women and people of color to run for and be elected into political office!
- In 2018, it is imperative that in the March primaries and November elections, we VOTE!
- We must impeach the POTUS!
- We must protect our DREAMers and secure a roadway to citizenship (and not at the expense of other immigrant populations)!
- We must protect our LGBTQ+ population from discrimination and work to advance rights, with a special emphasis on transgender women! (Channyn Lynne Parker, Transgender Activist, channeled Sojourner Truth at the beginning of her speech: “Ain’t I a woman?”)
- We must protect women’s reproductive rights!
- The feminist movement is not a trend — it is a life-long commitment!
- The words of Audre Lorde were invoked twice during the rally, including: “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”
- One early speaker stated a phrase that stayed with me: “White silence is violence.”
- Another presenter reminded us to “Lead with love!”
With my activist bestie, Jackie Larson, again! Pussy hats by Jennifer Stockton.
The Hamilton cast sang “Let It Be”
View from one bridge as we exited Grant Park to Michigan Avenue to march.
We were a sea of signs flowing from Grant Park to Federal Plaza, onlookers applauding. Like last year, shouts of “What does democracy look like?!?” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho!” drummed the air. When el-trains passed over the street, we shook our posters and made noise, ever-so-much strong, purposeful, dedicated noise.
Thanks to He-Who-Is-Not-My-President’s most recent violently inappropriate and revealing remarks, many posters contained a pile of shit wearing an orange comb over. Perhaps my favorite protest sign, however, was carried by a wee protester who was firmly planted upon her father’s shoulders. The tiniest protest sign that I’ve ever seen had an LGBTQ+ rainbow background and stated simply: “Donald Trump is a bad man and we want him to be good.” While I have considerable doubts about that outcome, she was a glimpse of hope for the future!
Let’s be a Resistance Hurricane in 2018!