It took little time to fall in love with you, my Sister and Brother-marchers, all 9,999 of you. We began to gather shortly after 9 am last Saturday, every one of us grateful to be together on such an incredible day like none other in anyone’s memory. Around midday our number was reported at between 5 and 7,000, but the final tally pushed this to 10,000! The after-glow remains vivid even six days later, and I have a hunch it will continue like this well into the future. We will need every bit of this light and warmth. We’re already confronted in this post-Inauguration first week with outrageous, cold-blooded actions out of the White House. There’s a sense, for me at least, that some of this is retaliation for the actions of the three million of us (and that’s a conservative figure) who joined together on January 21st all across America and around the world (all seven continents! photos of those lovely folks in Antarctica have warmed many a heart!) …to speak our solidarity in opposition to all the Trump regime stands for and seems hell-bent on perpetrating.
But back to you, you gorgeous women, fabulous men, and wonderful kids who chose to travel to Seneca Falls, the birthplace in 1848 of the Women’s Rights Movement. Over and over the names were called out from the podium and spoken to each other in later conversations…Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Matilda Joslyn Gage. How keenly aware we were of walking in their footsteps, offering our thanks for their lifetimes’ efforts and for showing us the way. Among the morning’s speakers was 101-year old Mary Simpson Smart who shared the memory of marching with her mother in the 1920 victory parade when women gained the Vote. How marvelous to have her sprightly presence and oh my did we cheer loudly for her! And before Mary, the equally inspiring voices in song and word of women and men of the Oneidas and Mohawks of the Haudenosaunee Nation (Iroquois) whose lands these were before the European invasion of the immigrant ancestors of most of us in the crowd. Their words were not angry (as none were the entire day) but of blessings for Mother Earth and cautionary ones to us who until now had little or any experience of those who desire power and control over us. The First Peoples are among the new way-showers. They know the path ahead well and have endured to guide us now.
And then came the time to move out onto the streets of Seneca Falls reveling in the day’s spring-like warmth and cheery sun. Off we strode in our numbers, admiring each others’ signs, sharing conversations of where we were from, why we were here, thanking each other for coming to join together in heart and mind.
Here are some of you that I had the delight of meeting:
Bonnie…we stood together during the opening ceremony applauding and whooping at the speeches and music. This sweet little girl and her lovely family, mom, dad, and baby brother (that’s her dad in the upper right corner). She wanted to hold my sign as we waited to start the march and wanted her doll to help too. And at the end of the march, another beautiful family who wanted their picture taken with me and my sign.
The last photo is of this wonderful man, a new grandfather who stood on the sidewalk holding his sign for us to see as we marched past. It read: “I march for Reese Honour Cassavaugh, my granddaughter, 2 Weeks Old Today”. Of all the wonderful speeches, signs, and conversations, this man’s love for his newborn granddaughter crystallized for me the reason we’d all journeyed to Seneca Falls that day. Radicalized love was fully birthed on January 21st, 2017 and it will be the Fuel and Light that will sustain and guide us in the work ahead.
We are the Ones we’ve been waiting for. And I so love you all.