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Women's March—1/21/17

Washington, D. C.

The three of us—we just HAD to do “something.”

We felt a bully had been elected president of our country, was causing considerable chaos already, and had begun appointing his henchmen to fill cabinet positions.

We wanted to resist somehow—not back away from the threat. We wanted to be counted, and we chose to be among those saints marching in Washington D.C.

One of my sisters, Lois, lives close to our nation’s capital. She carpooled to the event. Betty and I traveled from Richmond, Virginia, via Rally Bus, and met up with Lois in front of a food truck to wolf down a couple of soft, hot pretzels slathered with mustard.

Energized and ready to roll, we slid into an opening in the crowd and began our slow march to the White House while chanting, “Tell me what democracy looks like; this is what democracy looks like,” and “Hands too small; can’t build wall.”

Periodically the crowd broke into song, “O beautiful for spacious skies.” 

My sisters and I do not completely agree with one another when it comes to social policy. That’s okay. There were plenty of causes we could march for and support together—the environment, keeping our borders open to immigrants, Black Lives Matter, a minimum wage, and affordable healthcare.

We marched for justice. One of our favorite signs: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”  I feel our newly-elected president uses speech as a weapon of mass destruction. He has no patience for conversation, community, co-operation, and compromise. His goal is to dominate.

That is what bullies do. He vows to destroy those who block his efforts. Muslims. Blacks. LGBTQIA people. Women. Immigrants. Native Americans. The press. Mother Earth. Marching is resistance. Marching is disruption.

Resist. Disrupt. That’s the language a bully understands: so, we’ll continue to march in April (Tax March, March for Science, and People’s Climate March), in May Immigrant March) and in June (National Pride March) to make our voices heard, an act whose essential nature I define in an earlier article,

By Esther Nelson

Esther Nelson teaches religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the co-author (with Nasr Abu Zaid) of Voice of an Exile: Reflections on Islam and the co-author (with Kristen Swenson) of What is Religious Studies? A Journey of Inquiry. She writes regularly for the on-line journal Feminism and Religion.