“Look!” someone exclaimed when we stepped off the train at Grand Central, “a baby woman protestor!”
I’m the oldest of five sisters and a dyed-in-the-wool feminist. I remember having ferocious arguments in middle school with my friend Carmen at my side, ready to defend all women against all men. Loud- mouthed feminism is such a part of my life that I can’t imagine not having it, just as I can’t imagine that someone would think that I am “less than” because of my gender. I am passionate about equality, but especially now that I have a daughter, I find myself most passionate about equal access to healthcare— whatever kind of healthcare she may need in the future. I want to make sure she has access to it and that she knows she may choose whatever care she needs, whether it’s a trip to the dentist that won’t leave her bankrupt just to get a cavity filled, or an abortion because she’s carrying a child that is either arriving at the wrong time in her life or is developing a body that can’t sustain life.
I knew as soon as I heard about the Women’s March that I needed to be a part of it. Originally I planned to march in Washington D.C. with one of my sisters, but as the day drew closer, I realized it was going to be too much to do that with a four-month-old baby— and I was determined to take her with me and have her be a part of this historic event. We live in the Bronx, so it made sense to march in New York. I knitted us matching pink pussy hats (“Look!” someone exclaimed when we stepped off the train at Grand Central, “a baby woman protestor!”) and made a few extras to hand out to friends. A grad school colleague and I joined forces in planning. We marched as Team Rhizome, the name chosen to invoke the power of roots that are connected below ground but show up as individuals on the surface.
One of the people who marched with Team Rhizome was my friend Carmen. She had her eighteen-month-old son with her. Though we grew up in Wisconsin, life has sent us on separate adventures across the country and around the world. For this one year, though, our lives have intersected in New York. It felt so right to be back together again, shouting feminists rallying cries side by side with our children in tow, making the most ferocious argument of all: We exist, we are equal, and we demand the same rights for all.
Sign translated from Latin: Do not let the bastards grind you down.
©2017 Nadine Robbins. Unauthorized use of the images and copy from these stories is prohibited.