I would be remiss to talk about my month in New York and not mention a wee bit about the arrival of the Trump era. Stealing shamelessly from Dickens, the most apt characterization of the political climate seems to be: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
After Trump was elected back in November, my worldview had one more irreparable crack (and unfortunately, Leonard, there is no light coming in this one yet but I’m hopeful). As the reality set in, here is what I wrote to my mom (who was checking-in from her blissfully disconnected vacation in India):
I’m still struggling to make sense of this new reality and to ensure that my glimmer of optimism isn’t lost to apathy. “Who do I want to be in this situation?” is my road map to cope with all the uncertainty, fear and hate swirling about. I want to be open-hearted, calm, and brave. I will fight tirelessly to make sure this wicked weed doesn’t take root in my homeland.
Confession time again. I’ve never protested before (shameful, I know). But I took full advantage of the opportunity to share my voice with the Women’s March in New York... To march for women who feel like they don’t have a voice... for every trans woman who has ever been afraid to walk at home alone... for past civil rights leaders and suffragettes “who can’t believe they still have to protest this shit!”... for LGBTQ communities... for the next generation of leaders who will smash the glass ceiling. But most importantly, I marched for love in a world brimming with hatred.
New York protestors carried signs ranging from clever pussy puns to Beyoncé lyrics to giant vaginas. I was thrilled when a group of tweens asked if they could take a picture of me and my poster (which I had spent hours researching on the internet so I can’t claim that I was clever enough to come up with it on my own). I was particularly inspired to see posters that recognizes that women are impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues (a position known as intersectional feminism) because if we’re going to talk about advancing feminism, it has to include thinking about race and class privilege. (I owe a huge thanks to Taq Bhandal who brought me up to speed on all of this while we were Vancouver Women’s Health Collective board members together.)
While the people marching were angry at Trump and the new administration, I also heard many people chanting about what they were “for” than what they were “against.” I was particularly heartened by women chanting “my body, my choice” and men echoing “her body, her choice.” But I was most touched by the dads on the subway taking their young daughters to the march, proudly displaying pink, glittery signs. That, my friends, is what feminism needs more of.
Samantha Bee had it spot on: “Going to the Women’s March was like waking up from a nightmare to find that the monster was real, but all your friends were there with sticks, and torches, and unflattering hats to beat back the darkness.”
At this moment, the power to shape our communities and countries is still up for grabs – one uprising led by the White House and the other by feet in the street. You know where I’ll be... and don’t worry, Samantha; I’ll bring a pitchfork.
Nice to meet you...
I'm Andi (hence the blog name). I'm a travel aficionado, passionate eater, tireless explorer of internet rabbit-holes, and amateur thinker. Join me as I give it all up (ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration) and go around the world on a mid-career "soul sabbatical" & year-of-learning to figure out what to be NEXT when I grow up. Won’t you grab a cup of chai and stay a while?
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