About Me

My photo
Life with Lavendar in London town

Friday, 27 January 2017

Women's March London 2017

About a week before Trump’s inauguration I started acting like a cat does before a storm arrives. Hair on end. Pacing around the room. Eyes darting nervously, looking at something invisible that no-one else can see.

Cat before a storm. This was me.

'What is wrong with you?' asked the Husband as I stalked from room to room.

'I don’t know,' I screeched. 'I feel possessed!'

The Husband after watching me pace concluded:

'I think you’re tapped into the zeitgeist,' he muttered. 'Business as usual.'

He was right. I had managed to block out the reality of Trump’s presidency all throughout Christmas and New Year. Our family’s return to work and school had kept me preoccupied for the first few weeks of January.

But around mid- month, media attention surrounding the inauguration meant I could keep my head in the sand no longer. It was about to happen and I was pissed off and on edge. A storm was brewing. In the form of a radioactive orange Oompa Loompa with a mean little mouth and unnecessary hand gestures.

Change the wig to yellow and there he is

In November, I’d registered to attend the Women’s March in London. This march originated as an invite from a Hawaiian grandmother to forty of her Facebook friends to march on Washington, as a reaction to Trump’s election victory.  When she woke up the next day, the event had gone viral. Soon thereafter, sister marches were being arranged in cities all around the world as an act of support and solidarity to the Washington march. I wanted to attend the London march for it was a means to act in accordance with my beliefs rather than do nothing and despair at the erosion of civil liberties.

The last time I felt compelled to march was post Brexit last July. The time before that was twenty years ago when I was an environmental campaigner. Those years as a campaigner showed me the power of well organised and persistent grassroots action. It showed me that a small group of determined people working together can change things.

Women's March Global Logo

Logo from Women's March London

My intent was to attend the march alone. But to my delight, several other women I knew from Dragon’s school were also attending. Soon a small gang of us arranged to attend the event together.

The day of the march dawned bright and beautiful. The clear blue skies served as a welcome omen that our march was a force towards positive action. A tangible sense of excitement and electricity fizzed in the air as we assembled in Grosvenor Square opposite the US Embassy.  We knew that there were 600+ sister marches scheduled to happen all around the world and that we were there to represent the UK. The night before, I’d watched Trump’s inauguration which only heightened my determination to march for human rights, amongst other infringements which Trump represents. By this time, I considered it a civic duty.

A beautiful day for a march

There is a lot I can say about the march but in summary, the gang I marched with found it an overwhelmingly positive experience. The mood of the event was friendly, inclusive, peaceful and determined. We marched alongside a diverse demographic; old, young, men, women. I got the sense that like me, people felt moved to act because it was vital to take a stand against what was happening in the world. Brexit shook our foundations and Trump tipped us over the edge. The march was a vessel through which to funnel our charged emotions and say, No way. It's not OK to the powers that be.  The other big bonus of the event was the emergence of witty, creative protest placards such as these below:

Afterwards we found out we had helped make history. The final numbers have yet to be confirmed but the approximation is that over five million people participated in the global marches. From Antarctica to Sydney to Chennai to Antigua, people stood up to protect core values of respect, equality and individual freedoms. It purportedly was the largest turnout for a global march led by women in history. Ever.   

We Made History!

 And it’s only the beginning.

It’s a week after the march, and myself and the group I attended with are still on a high. We’ve bonded over this shared experience. People who said to us, 'What can a march change?''* underestimate the power of taking action. We feel energised. We feel hopeful. We feel a part of the movement working towards tipping the balance back to a just and open society.  For several of us, there is a dawning realisation that the march was just the beginning of our involvement in what is being referred to as the Resistance. Like Dorothy on her journey along the Yellow Brick Road, we’re not quite sure where this path will take us. Somewhere for the common good is my hope.

A quote by Gloria Steinem sums it up:

Sometimes we need to put our bodies where our beliefs are. 

Sometimes it is not enough to press send.

*Ever heard of Gandhi?  And if you are a woman, how do you think you got the vote?

No comments: