#KeepPortlandWeird gets thrown around a lot around here, and this might be considered an example but for me it is an example of the greatness that is my hometown. Full of Whimsy and Bite. This photo was from an Instagram account that tagged themself at the event. The user name for the account was CarynRochelle and she even has her own blog http://imnotevenmakingthisstuffup.blogspot.com/ her last post was all about cyber bullying, worth checking out.
Like many men and women in this country I marched this weekend.
I marched on Saturday because I believe I was called to do so. When I found my purpose in life it was clear to me that it was not just to speak to hear my own voice but to speak up and our for those who cant. It was to use my voice to help other people find their own, especially women. For too long, women have had to quiet their voices. For too long we have been relegated to roles an ideals that limited us to objects. I marched because it is time that we are the subject. It is time that we are the force for change that will lead us all to a better place.
When I decided to march I did so without thought or consideration. I just knew it was something I had to do. I didn't think about who might join me. I didn't think about whether or not it was safe to march alone. I just knew I wouldn't be okay watching from a distance.
When I decided that I wanted to write about the event, I knew I couldn't do it right away. I needed to sit with what had just happened. I needed to take it all in and sit in the emotion.
Because I sat with it, I experienced some of the aftermath that comes with expressing your views in the modern social media world we now live in. The Saturday that I had just experienced in elation turned in to a Sunday of sadness and confusion.
let me explain...
Saturday, I woke up early, turned on C-SPAN and got ready while sitting on my living room floor. I wanted to see what was happening at the Women's March on Washington, DC and hear what all of these wonderful women had to say. With each speaker, tears fell from my face, none more than with the young 6 year-old Sophie Cruz stood with her family on stage.
She spoke with an eloquence and grace that most adults fail to muster and spoke out of her dreams and led a chant of "Si Se Puede" in front of the swelling crowd. In one instant I fell in awe and lost all sense of composure I had, not to mention every stitch of makeup I had just so carefully applied. Between this young girls composure and spirit and the fact that we got to see in real time a mother become overwhelmed with pride for her young child, I was a goner. How in the world was I going to get through this day without succumbing to the weight of emotions that was sure to come?
i was humbled.
I know the language on my sign is strong. But I was just using the words that the President elect used when he objectified women and verbalized the value he saw in them. I chose the language on purpose. The goal of my sign was not to offend but rather to say that if we are to be strong women with a voice and view point we must exercise. Exercise our right to use our voice and have an opinion and speak up for it. (photo is mine)
It was in this moment that sister-in-law and co-workers showed up at my door. It was also at this time that the skies opened up and rain fell by the bucketloads. We pulled out our umbrellas and walked to the Max Train (Portland Tri-Met's lightrail system). The train was FULL of women in pink hats, positive message tee's and an unexpected amount of men and children standing by their side. The mood was jubilant, hopeful and contagious. It was there, that I decided to make my sign for the event. I knew that what I was writing might not be well received by all but the response from the people on the bus of all ages was that of joy and acceptance.
for the second time that day i was humbled.
The train was packed, the windows were fogged up.It was because of this that de-boarding the train was so monumental. As we walked off the train into downtown Portland the sheer amount of people was overwhelming. Everywhere I looked I saw pink hats, signs of protest and positive energy. We met more friends and co-workers. We made more signs. We walked to the rally stage.
Woah can we just talk about all of the people? They were truly everywhere.
This photo is the talent of local photographer Sara Ladu. What a great shot of the crowds i the rain. Check her out at http://ladusphotos.tumblr.com/
Trudging through mud and rain we joined thousands of people under the Morrison bridge to listen. Well...we tried to listen but sadly couldn't hear much. The crowds were ready to march and you could hear the chants of "let us march" fill Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Finally after more than an hour, with soaking wet clothes and frozen muddy toes from the rain, the crowds started to move and with female led music we all started moving. We were cheering, laughing and dancing.
This photo is my own and was taken as we made our way from the muddy waterfront to the streets of Portland. Loved the sign.
This is my own photo that someone in my group helped to capture. Here I am marching with like minded people. A moment I will forever be proud and humbled by. This is what democracy looks like
we were marching.
I am not sure how to explain the crowds or the emotions. There were so many. The best I can do is say that I was proud of my city and the people that make it a community. There were babies and kids, men and women, young and old and the energy was all love. The Portland Police were out, many of them donning their own pink hats and symbols of support. I personally thanked a few as we walked by for keeping us safe and heard the same sentiments coming from people throughout the march route.
Never have I experienced such an outpouring of love and support all directed at the female gender. Walking it felt like anything was possible. It felt that there was a reason to be hopeful and that love was bound to win.
This is an image that KGW News posted to show just a small sampling of the crowds. Reports had estimated 37k people had RSVP'd via Facebook while the final tally's estimated closer to 100k showed up. WOW!
This photo is one of my own. As we were walking to the shuttle, I saw this kid outside of Pioneer Square holding his sign for all to see. I asked him if I could take his picture and his grace, eloquence and manners were beyond measure. He thanked me for wanting to take this picture. This is what the future should look like. Loved this kid and was so blessed to have just 15 seconds with him as he made his voice heard.
We made our way home on shuttles and the lightrail (Kudos to Tri-Met for a very well organized approach to the day). The faces of our fellow passengers showed signs of cold, exhaustion and a weariness but there were also a signs of knowing and kinship. We were family. You could see, that like me, they were trying to reconcile the amazingness that we just experienced with what we were marching in response to. How do you reconcile such a huge outpouring of love exercising our rights with what had happened the day before? Was this day a fluke? If this many people felt this strongly how did we end up where we are politically?
A lot of these questions came across my social media feed that night and into Sunday. Some of these questions are fair, and some are short-sided. The one I heard the most was...
Why didn't all of these people vote?
Let us not forget that the other candidate won the popular vote. She won not by a small fraction of a percent but an overwhelming landscape of votes that some have calculated at 2.9Million. Let us not forget that most of these events were in the large cities that voted overwhelmingly for something different. These marches were a reflection of the fact that they did vote.
Let's not get distracted with blame and shame. That is not what Saturday was all about.
As I looked through images of the march and even shared some of my own, I was struck by two things.
I found this photo on the Women's March on Portland Facebook Site, submitted by a Daniel H. Maher and couldn't NOT share it. This is the kind of expression of anger that can only make you smile. Love that this kid is standing #withher and that the her in the situation is his Grandma. LOVE
People get brave when they can hide behind a computer. They say cruel and hurtful things. They become people that we rarely see in person. They criticize and make accusations, they post and report unfounded news that has no factual basis and therefore isn't actually news. They have quick trigger fingers when it comes to insults and to opinions that they express oftentimes in hurtful ways. Social media has become a weapon of sorts and nobody is immune. This happens on both sides of the political spectrum. So many people are upset that they choose to react rather than act with careful thought and consideration and because this is happening at such a fast pace it tends to get out of control.
And that really sucks but there is another way. The second thing that struck me was this.
One of my favorite things about the Women's March on Portland were the Kids. So many parents exposing their kids to standing up for what they believe in. It was beautiful and none more so than this kid and his sign shared on the Women's March on Portland Facebook Page by Alex Stamsos
There is a lot of love in this world. Those people that I marched alongside on Saturday were not a fluke. They were real and they were the personification of love.
We forget that living in this world is hard. We forget that we aren't the only ones who have it hard. Everyone has a story, a past that is full of both good and bad things. These things shape who we are as people. Some get shaped into people that are angry, bitter and ignorant while others get shaped into people who want more and use their experiences to work for more, to promote something better. The old saying of "don't judge someone until you have walked in their shoes" rings true.
I have decided to focus on the love.
I have decided that by doing this I will stand FOR SOMETHING, not against. When I marched on Saturday, I marched FOR SOMETHING. I put my anger and confusion aside and decided not to dwell in that negativity. I marched to instead focus on using my voice to speak up for something more. It would be easy for all of us to focus on the things that make us angry but the thing is...
This is my photo and the sign says it all.
anger and ignorance doesn't change hearts
Yes, at times these things can change minds of people, but it doesn't change hearts. When I think of the things that the new President represents I see a lot of bad things; racism, homophobia, disrespect for women, xenophobia and a general lack of understanding of what the majority of Americans go through my first thought is anger.
I can admit that. But that anger turns to sadness very quickly. That sadness gets compounded when I see that there are people who chose someone that represents those ideals. I get even sadder when I hear people say nothing at all and remain absent from the conversation. We all have our reason for what we do and how we choose to respond but this country was built on the backs of people who stood up for what was right and that is a tradition people on both sides seem to be proud of. Our country is not perfect, neither is its people but it is when brave men and women stand up and speak out against these imperfections that progress has occurred.
I choose this legacy. .
While I was hurt today by some of what I heard around me and some of what I heard directed at me and I cried today more times than I would like to admit. It will not break me. I am ok.
I choose to stand up
I choose to stand out
I choose to speak up
I choose to speak out
I will not be silenced
I will not be complacent
I will fight for what is right
I will fight for love
I will be for something
i will lift up
i will be me
and i will use my gifts to make the world a better place that we can all be proud of
Love, peace, equality and intelligence to all of you beautiful people out there. Thank you to all of the people around this country and beyond who organized, supported, watched over and had any involvement whatsoever on the beautiful example of democracy that happened on Saturday across the globe. To my friends, family and co-workers who marched alongside me, thank you isn't enough. I chose not to share a picture of us as there wasn't one of the whole group and I respect your privacy but please know that it was an honor to stand next to you and veryone who made their voices heard on this historic day.
i am humbled
It doesn't end here. Marching and protesting is one thing but like anything good we have to work to elicit change. not sure what to do? That's okay, the march organizers have given us some help. 10 Things in 100 Days. Click on the picture below to find out what you can do next.
10 Things in 100 Days, let's continue to make history and speak up and out to make our voices heard.
P.S. I didn't even get to talk about all of the great signs that were out there. This one was definitely one of my favorites for the pure cleverness alone so I had to share. Hopefully it puts the same smile on your face that it did on mine.
I shared as a screen shot because I just liked the whole post. It was from an Instagram user named Jon Friedman and it is just great all around.
Did you march? In Portland, DC, LA, anywhere else? Tell me why you marched. Let's start a dialog together.