I’m not here to bash others with opposing opinions, put down politicians and their families, or try and instill my own beliefs and values into others’ heads.
I’m simply here to say that last Saturday was magical.
Regardless of the slight lingering of a hangover and the McDonald’s bag I found next to my bed early that morning (oops), I knew that the day was going to be something special.
Never have I ever been on the Redline when it’s been so packed… it’s actually my nightmare to stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers in an enclosed area, but for once, I didn’t seem to mind. There was such a positive energy in the train car, an energy that was supplemented by men, women, and children of all ages, some who wore pink hats, while others held beautiful and colorful signs (I, on the other hand dressed in all black… a classic me move).
Conversations between strangers flowed throughout the ride to the Jackson stop, with all but one or two individuals staying behind to continue on with their ride on the L.
As I walked through the streets of downtown Chicago without a coat on in 60-degree weather, surrounded by thousands of people, I not only felt the warmth of sunshine on the 21st of January, I felt the warmth of our nation. Something that to be completely honest, I hadn’t felt in quite some time.
My friend and I pushed our way through the crowd of over a quarter of a million people, totally shocked, weirdly excited, and utterly inspired by the amount of human beings that came together for one reason. I think I repeated the phrase “This is incredible,” out loud roughly one billion times.
But it just really was.
Fathers carrying young daughters on their shoulders, mothers wearing matching t-shirts with their teenage sons, Black students, White businessmen, Mexican children, Asian grandparents, democrats, republicans, gay, straight, and queer individuals. Words can’t describe the diversity of the group that banded together over the simple fact that the power and rights of one gender should not be any less or greater than those of the opposite.
The fact that a group of men is making decisions over what women can and can’t do with their bodies right now, when I can’t even count on the majority of my guy friends to be capable of buying me a box tampons, is mind-boggling. And the fact that millions of individuals’ health is in jeopardy, is terrifying.
I, like many of you reading this, have been very fortunate to have always had healthcare, whether through my parents while I was a child, or now as an adult through my job. I’ve always been able to schedule a woman’s annual appointment without any hesitation, and I’ve never had to think twice about gaining access to medications, including birth control.
But that’s not to say, I don’t know people who have. I have friends that rely on organizations such as Planned Parenthood for pap smears, mammograms, and birth control…no not for abortions. They aren’t lazy, and yes they do have jobs. Some don’t offer adequate health insurance, and some just offer too expensive of plans. So they turn to PP for quality and affordable care, for services that many of us take for granted, because we’ve never experienced that sort of limitation.
I have Republican friends that have had abortions, and Democratic friends that are pro-life. At the end of the day, this isn’t a political or religious issue, it’s a simple human rights issue. A simple human rights issue that will not only affect our entire country but countless others.
The magic of The Women’s March leaves me feeling hopeful.
Hopeful that one day, maybe just maybe, we’ll see the same unity overall as a nation. I’ll forever remember that Saturday, and I can’t wait to one day tell my daughter or son all about it with as much enthusiasm as when I tell them they can grow up to one day be the president.