I’m of the mind that all this upset and upheaval is good because
it’s motivating people to do something.
Iactually had wanted to go to DC but the idea of traveling there and all the logistics of it just seemed overwhelming. Fortunately a close friend, Elizabeth, invited me to go to the March in Woodstock, NY. It was the first time that I’ve done anything like this. I wanted to participate in some way. My grandmother Argia was an immigrant from Italy, and my mother was six years of age when they came to this country. They arrived here speaking no English and experienced culture shock, having lived in a small town. In retrospect I realized that I’m a first generation born in this country. It’s interesting that until this time I never really understood the significance of that. My grandmother worked long hard hours as a dressmaker and stood on a picket line to protest for the union and for fair wages. I was very proud of the independent spirit that she had and was always in awe of her. I wanted to march in solidarity for all women for so many reasons, this just being the tip of the iceberg. Her courage inspired me to step outside my comfort zone for something I believed in.
I remember saying that change is uncomfortable. It’s human nature to avoid change, especially if it will impact the immediate or long term quality of life, or threaten our freedom to live life as seen fit. This past election created so much upheaval, upset and anger. One could feel the energy as something palpable and threatening. Countless family members, friends and others shared with me how they felt physically ill and unable to get past their deep disappointment and disgust. I could understand this deeply, having felt the same way myself. However, I also could see this time of upheaval as an opportunity to create change for the better. I felt that maybe we became too complacent in thinking that the world we created here in the United States was “safe”, race discrimination in its many forms was something we had largely overcome and all would be well. I realized this time we are experiencing is an earthquaking wake-up call, our work is not done and we must do what’s uncomfortable and step outside the “comfort zone”. So I’m of the mind that all this upset and upheaval is good because it’s motivating people to do something they wouldn’t do before. Stand up and be heard and create change for the better for all.
As I was marching that day I experienced many different emotions. I was surrounded by like-minded people who carried signs, or decorated their clothing with slogans of solidarity, chanting and walking peacefully in the street. I didn’t have a pink hat but I had a pink scarf which I wrapped around my hat and there was a dog chew toy that looked like #45 with ribbons over his mouth, propped on the front of my hat. I felt a little scared because no one else did that. I stood out. I felt vulnerable. I received a stern look from an officer as I marched past. I almost thought to take it off and stop chanting when I realized if I did that I would be “seen” but not “heard”, something often said to me as a child for being overzealous or too outspoken. I kept on carrying forward; I had a mission to support that I believed in. Women need to support each other in moving forward to receive adequate healthcare, to be able to have healthy families and know how to plan for their future. All women must be able to have free choice of how to do that.
Did my participating in the March make a significant difference in the world? Maybe. And if you include my taking a stand with all the other people who marched all over the world, I’d have to say most definitely affirmative!
©2017 Nadine Robbins. Unauthorized use of the images and copy from these stories is prohibited.