I started this at 9:41 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Got about two sentences written and then I figured, what the heck, I am too excited to write so I dragged out the pink hat, decorated the trike and headed for the Women’s March on Duval.
As you’d say, oh man, that was awesome. Upwards of 3,500 gathered in the 1400 block of Duval, with folks starting to arrive three hours before step-off at 2 p.m. It took just under two hours to make our way from South Beach to Mallory Square where there were speakers and music and banners and flags — and tutus because, of course, Key West.
So there you go, the entire march summed up in one paragraph. Words can capture the facts. Words aren’t so handy when it comes to explaining how it felt to be part of that group, which was one of more than 200 marches across the United States and dozens more internationally. Being part of something bigger than oneself is heady stuff.
And though there was most certainly partisan political anger and frustration woven throughout the marches — and the media is obsessed with that — the resounding message was clear: Unity. Equality. Social Justice. Human rights. Women’s rights.
History will remember the march as the coming-to-power of Xers and Millennials. Though there were aging baby boomers aplenty in the crowds and at the microphones, the marches around the world saw these elders stepping aside to open the way for younger women. Most of the news coverage missed that, focused so much were they on the conflict politics.
One had to be close up or willing to watch hours of march video to identify the transition. Many of the younger women who marched realized during the 2016 campaign — and certainly on Nov. 9 — that the “rights” they grew up with were no more reliable than the paper on which they were written. Women’s rights have always been one vote away from being swept from the table. What legislation and court decisions give, a court or governing body can take away.
Watching the young Key West women make our march happen reassured me that our future, however, chaotic is will be, is in good hands. These women will do the right thing.
Over the next week or so, there will be plenty of snipers taking aim on exactly how many marchers there were, about the messaging, about the politics. To be expected. When one doesn’t understand something, the best way to tame it is to belittle it. That’s what folks do when they’re afraid of something, too. Whistling in the dark.
Millions around the world marched peacefully and powerfully on Jan. 21. Your Ninny jaked up her trike and made signs that said “Triking for the young ones.” That’s you, and Evie, and Moses, and Britton, and Emma, and Olivia — and the little girl on the way. I’ll keep fighting until there are no fights left because it’s the right thing to do.
We had fun with the Women’s March on Duval. There were grins and splendid companionship. But it was a serious thing we did here and around the world.
One last message to those who would prefer their women out of the board rooms: We vote. We matter. We make a difference. Do not underestimate what happened on Saturday.