Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Women’s March
January 24, 2018
This time, I marched. It was the second annual Women's March. Who knew people would be more upset and feel more determined than a year ago?
A year ago, I passed on the Women's March. I felt, at the time, that I didn't need to attend. It seemed pretty much every woman I knew was participating and I just did not feel called to do it. But I realized, almost immediately, that I had made a mistake. I should have been there. There could never have been too many people marching.
A year ago, I felt afraid. This year I feel sad and angry and yes, I am still a bit frightened. The world seems more unstable. This year, I decided to participate. I decided to get off the couch and onto the streets. This year I was excited to be part of the masses marching to bring attention to the rights and plight of women.
My girlfriend and I gathered in downtown Sacramento about an hour before the start of festivities. We were amazed by the sheer number of people — all ages, all genders — who had gathered in the park on a (thankfully) sunny day in January.
There was a large contingent from Nevada County, easy to spot in bright orange scarves. This was my first march and I am not sure what I expected — but what I received was an incredible feeling of unity. So many like-minded people gathered together was inspiring and I realize I felt … hopeful.
In the thick of it
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We all waited impatiently until the crowd began to move toward the Capitol. The march itself, was less than a mile in duration. I was most entertained by the signs. People are clever. There were signs with bold, clear cut statements. There were signs using plays on words. There were signs stating sad declarations. And there were signs that were thought provoking — "The arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, but it doesn't get there on its own … "
My friend and I walked along, visited with others, engaged in chants, enjoyed music provided along the way and generally discussed the state of the union. Last year she was among the half a million who marched in Washington where she reported it was literally shoulder to shoulder. With the entire parade route full of people, they had no place to go and barely shuffled forward.
We wondered if the turn-out in Sacramento was larger than the previous year. Would people still feel the need to protest?
When you are in the midst of the forest, it is hard to count the trees, so it was especially gratifying when we stood on the steps of the Capitol and looked out onto a sea of people.
As it turned out, the crowd at this march was much larger than last year — over 10,000 people larger. So yes, people still feel the need!
We listened to some of the speakers including representatives from Planned Parenthood, California Dreamers, several women politicians and Mayor Steinberg. The message was consistent. Show up at the polls. Demand to be heard. Get involved in the political process. Say "yes" to running for office. Vote. "Grab them by the mid-terms" was carried on many signs.
Keeping hope alive
A year ago, my husband asked me why women were marching. I answered that we were afraid of what might happen if we didn't make sure our voice was heard. The #metoo and #timesup movements and the countless scandals that have surfaced since give me hope that maybe, just maybe, things are going to change for women in this country.
At the very least, we no longer have to pretend these atrocities are not happening. We no longer have to accept deplorable behavior as part of the female experience. And we are on our way to getting a taste of that equality we have been promised for so long.
While I had never participated in a march before, I am glad I did. It gave me hope. Hope that soon this will be something for the history books. It will be so far removed from the reality of our day to day that children will find it hard to believe there was ever a time when men and women were not on equal footing.
"Really, Grandma, there was a time when women were paid less for doing the same work? When they had to subject themselves to humiliation and inappropriate behavior to get or keep their jobs? Come on! Next, you'll be telling me telephones used to be connected to the wall and music came out of vinyl discs."
In 1920, women got the right to vote. Nearly a 100 years later, who's to say what's possible?
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at email@example.com.