Civic engagement has been re-birthed. That is why I am participating in this movement. It is my best option – NOW.
Sometimes staying under the covers seems like the best option. I drew the covers back on November 9, 2016. It was my decision to go to that place. I was safe. The same way I did when as a child, I felt endangered. Here’s the thing. After the election I chose NOT to read about, listen to, or engage in any conversation giving some sort of legitimacy to the next president of the United States. Once again, I felt endangered by this new administration.
Marching in the 60’s for civil rights and the right to choose, I was hopeful. “We stand today on the edge of a new frontier - the frontier of the 1960’s, a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils - a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Deciding to march on January 21, 2017 happened slowly. I wanted to be a part of this movement, advocating for the protection of women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, the right to healthcare. Hard fought rights that were still in their infancy and still vulnerable. Also, to protect the four pillars of our democracy; Equity, Representation, Freedom and Justice.
I wanted to march. Where? Washington? No. NYC? Yes.
Five days before the Women’s March I purchased a ticket. Arriving at the Rhinecliff train station at 5:30am on Saturday, a handful of women were waiting for the train to New York City. Ten women multiplied to 15. Fifteen multiplied to 20, and when the train arrived, I lost count. Generations of women. Some heading down to DC, others to NYC. AMTRAK was sold out. Knitting, working on signs, sharing food and water, speaking softly, staring out of the window, reading, sleeping and here we were!
It was in that moment boarding the train, I looked around, and saw what I saw. In the company of these brave and wonderful women I did not feel alone.
I still feel endangered. Fifty years plus after JFK, the perils loom larger than the opportunities for our frontier. But I can feel the energy of hope. Why? There are millions and millions of people who want to continue to feel what democracy feels like. People marched. They are still marching. Civic engagement has been re-birthed. That is why I am participating in this movement. It is my best option – NOW.
©2017 Nadine Robbins. Unauthorized use of the images and copy from these stories is prohibited.