This past Friday, Donald Trump was sworn into office as the 45th president of the United States. This past Saturday, peaceful marches arose across the globe in response to the comments made during the election cycle. The march’s organizers were adamant that this march was NOT “anti-Trump”; rather, it was a chance for women and allies alike to gather in solidarity, gearing up for what is sure to be a long fight for justice.
The march’s detractors have been loud in voicing their distaste for the marches. People everywhere, even those who identify as fairly progressive, question marchers’ motives. “Why are you even bothering?” people ask. “He won. Get over it.”
Those who ask these kinds of questions are missing the point. Of course these marches weren’t going to change anything overnight. The march’s organizers didn’t expect, or even really want, a Sunday impeachment of our president. On the contrary, these marches were meant to be a powerful statement to our new president and his supporters - we are here, we are loud, we are not going anywhere.
These marches were meant to hold President Trump accountable for his words and actions. The fact of the matter is, he is now president to all Americans. He has to be the voice for all Americans, even those who did not vote for him. It was not about chanting, “not my president,” as some of the protesters proclaimed in the weeks immediately after the election. On the contrary, it was making sure our new administration knows that he IS our president. We are all better off if he succeeds.
These marches were to find solidarity in like-minded people. This weekend was a powerful reminder to all those who have felt hopeless these past few months that we are NOT alone. Donald Trump is our new president, but we are still the people. What makes up a country is not the leadership, but the people who live in it. We are here, and we won’t easily forget.
These marches were to find real-life allies during a time when so many people are used to interacting with others over the Internet. Physical presence is powerful.
Progress requires a willingness to get uncomfortable. The marches were peaceful, but they were a disruption to what otherwise might have been a quiet Saturday for most. Marchers traveled from near and far to participate in the march on Washington, and many more attended their local sister marches. We at RISE Movement believe that every voice matters. This weekend reminded us of that. Our voices together are stronger, louder, fiercer, and unignorable.
People who are encouraging those who marched to simply “get over it,” do not understand. We will not get over it. We can’t. We don’t want to. We marched because we needed to find community and solace in those who feel hurt by the election cycle. We are watching what our new administration does. We will not go away quietly. The march was only the beginning.
And now, our work continues.
*Apologies to the marcher who got caught in the crosshairs while I was taking this panorama.