IN THE MONTHS BEFORE the Women’s March on Washington, the event received some criticism that predicted it wouldn’t be as diverse as it should be. Fair enough, feminism does have a history in excluding women of color. And in its early stages, the march was planned by a white woman activist, Bob Bland, before a pressing cry for diversity urged her to include women of color as organizers. Bland wholeheartedly agreed, and Tamika D. Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour joined with her to organize the march.
When I pulled up in a bus filled with Maine women, I honestly didn’t know what to expect of the march in terms of diversity. We were all white, traveling from a small island community — the fact that we weren’t a very multicultural group is just the reality of where we’re from. But thankfully, even that reality is shifting in the 21st century.
But I can tell you that after marching all day, in a crowd of more than 1 million, I saw significant unity. (Other marchers didn’t.) This diversity wasn’t just shown in people of different cultures, it was shown in people of different ages, carrying signs that urged us all to consider a diverse range of issues. It wasn’t uncommon to see three different generations of family members marching together. Or to see a white or Latina ally holding a Black Lives Matter sign. I saw signs that stated: “I am not free unless you are free.” And heard chants that cried: “No hate, no fear. Immigrants are welcome here.”
I saw the Women’s March on Washington as a true show of solidarity, and I have never been part of something so empowering and teaching. I felt privileged to be there, to be able to march alongside women who live a completely different life than I do and to speak with and learn from them.
Here are some photos that I took of fellow marchers. I hope they can offer a face for the concerns and issues that many of us share when we think about the next four years. Possibly, they’ll offer a new definition of feminism in the year 2017 — a feminism that is multicultural and welcomes us all to come together in the common belief that women’s rights are human rights.