We march for one people, one planet, one love
By DONNA HANNA
On Saturday, Jan. 21, I left my house at 2:30 a.m. to meet a bus filled with people from West Virginia, most of whom I’d never really met except for a few I saw at a brief meeting about what to expect at the Women’s March in Washington, DC.
We were told to expect anything and everything, from personal insults, to personal injury to worse case scenario jail or even death. The night before, I looked at my Twitter feed and there were people making death threats to anyone who dared show up for the Women’s March… threatening to be there with AK47s to take as many down as they could. Me being me, the worse the threats got, the more I wanted to go.
I drove through the our mountainous terrain with fog so thick you could barely see in front of the car. I got my things, took my seat on the bus, and off we went in the dark, dreary, rainy night, not sure of what to expect when we arrived. Would there be violent protesters and tear gas waiting for us?
As we began our two-mile walk to Capitol Hill, we passed police officers who thanked us for coming. We passed National Guard members who thanked us for coming. We passed rows of houses with quotes from Martin Luther King Junior posted in the yards and people sitting on their steps drinking their morning coffee. They shouted, “Welcome! Thanks for coming!
Our state had a designated area to meet at Capitol Hill before walking to the National Mall. I thought I’d seen a lot of people going to Capitol Hill, but walking to the mall was overwhelming with the amount of people — more than half of the population of our little state of West Virginia.
This small town woman had never in my life been in a crowd of that many people. It was a bit intimidating at first, but I fit in like an old shoe. Everyone was chanting little cheers for their cause, saving Planned Parenthood, no DAPL, no Keystone XL, saving the LGBTQ rights to marry the ones they love, and the big one for me was climate change and saving our one and only earth. Everyone had a cause, and I was passionate about all of them, but when they kill the soil, the bees and the water, they aren’t going to be able to eat their dirty money.
This was definitely solidarity in its truest form, and it made me feel proud to be an American. Also, to know for now we still have the freedom to assemble, and to stand up for the change we want to see, and the change we want to be.
I will continue the fight for as long as it takes, and if asked, I will march again. I was amazed at the amount of people that showed up nationwide in our sister marches. Whether we accomplished anything is hard to say, but stand proud that we — women, men and children — made history, and we did it in peace without arrest or property damage. Americans, we are a proud determined nation of people.
Our day was spent weaving in and out through the crowds of people from all walks of life, carrying colorful posters with their own ideas but all with one common thread: Liberty and Justice For All. This march was so much bigger than any of us, with so much meaning for so many, waiting to see if we lose our new rights we gained under President Obama… all wondering what this new administration would bring or how it could devastate our lives and our freedoms.
There have been so many posts on social media from people calling us protesters whiners, wanting handouts, how we should have voted in November, telling us we were being unpatriotic and wanting this president to fail. That is not what we want. We want our leaders to know we are watching, and want them to do what is right for the people they work for, and not the greed they’re so intent on bringing themselves — more than they could spend in 20 lifetimes.
So many beliefs, all different, but this is what democracy looks like in the United States of America. We don’t have to agree with the new president, or any member of congress — as a country we all need to step up to the plate and protect our democracy. If you can’t march, write! Write or email your members of congress, let them know what the people they work for want. Let them know we are watching — very closely!
At the end of that day with aching legs and lots of sore muscles, and at least 10 new miles put on my shoes, the same police officers and the members of the National Guard thanked us for coming and told us to have a safe trip home. Everyone I encountered was extremely nice to us. There were protesters there for the opposite reason, but they stayed on the edges trying to get anyone riled up that would listen. We all kept walking.
It’s really simple: One people, one planet, one love — that is our United States of America.