To the editor:
On Jan. 21, I went to the March for Human Rights in Mobile. As a “sister march” to the Women’s March on Washington, it was organized in three days by a Spring Hill College student. I kind of wanted to go and kind of didn’t. I’m so weary of the angry rhetoric in light of the recent election and really didn’t want to hear any more.
I waffled all morning and made up my mind not to go. Instead, I tuned into the Facebook Live broadcast of the Washington March. It looked so exciting. But this is Mobile.
A woman who appeared to be about my age was carrying a placard that read “I Can’t Believe I Still Have To Protest This Sh*t.” As a child of the ‘60s I marched for civil rights and for women’s rights. And yes, it appears that I do still have to protest this sh*t. So, I put on my “already been worn yesterday” T-shirt that says “Hate Won’t Win” and folded a pink bandana into a headband (having sent my three cute little knitted pink “pussycat hats” to be worn in marches in Washington and Eugene) and went to protest.
But it didn’t feel like a protest. No flags were burned. No bottles were thrown. No cops were hassled. It felt like … love.
The press labeled the March on Washington and the sister marches as “anti-Trump” demonstrations, but there was very little anti-Trump rhetoric and negativity. It was empowering, exciting, and it was loving.
It didn’t feel like a protest against Trump. It was a protest against racism and sexism, a protest against the things that divide us and keep us separate. The young woman standing next to me during the speeches chanted “We Are One. We Are One.” I love her.
We are one with those in Eugene … 10,000 strong in a city smaller than Mobile. One with the women in London who wore suffragette uniforms with sashes that read “Same Sh*t, Different Century.” One with the folks in Antarctica (now that was a picture). And one with those who stood on the Mall and cheered as Trump was inaugurated.
The T-shirt I wore shows a black [hand] and a white hand curved to make a heart, “Hate Won’t Win.”
Hate only wins in the absence of love. I didn’t face dogs or riot police or fire hoses or tear gas when I marched yesterday. My challenges are different. I don’t get to choose those I wish to be “one” with. I don’t get to use the “hate won’t win” slogan to convert others but to remind myself. I don’t get to talk the talk without also walking the walk. A reminder that if I am “going low” I can choose to “go high.”
I was one of millions who marched. I like to think we were marching for change, not against anything. Those who marched across that bridge in Selma 50 years ago were instrumental in bringing about change. Ghandi marched to the sea. What changes will we see as a result of those millions marching?
One of the quotes that was used in the speeches Saturday was “Be The Change You Want To See In The World.” Amen.