Last saturday, I met up with tens of thousands of other people and took to the streets of Seattle to raise my voice. The Women’s March in the other Washington was too far away, but I was able to meet up with a group of friends to show our support of human issues. One of the great freedoms all people in the United States enjoy is the right to peaceful assembly, as stated in the First Amendment of the US Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” My oldest son is 11 and in sixth grade, and just starting to learn about civics and government in school, so I took him along with me to the march.
For myself, this was very personal. My mother and I came over to the US as refugees from Viet Nam, and I was naturalized as a US citizen when I was 16. I’ve always been proud to be an American, and I’ve taught my children to not take for granted the rights and privileges they have, just by the fact that they live in this great country. What I cannot be proud of is the anomosity, the bile, and the sheer amount of hatred that has been spewed since our new President has taken the Oval Office. I cannot stand by and let that be the legacy for my children. So I marched, and explained to my son why people were angry. I marched, and explained why women, in particular, were talking about taking back power to their own bodies, to their own lives, and reclaiming themselves. He asked questions which I tried to answer truthfully (why was everyone wearing a pussy hat, which instigated a talk about saying the word pussy at his elementary school 🙂 but mostly he marched, and listened, and took everything in with open eyes and ears. It’s been over a week now since we attended the march, and he’s talked to schoolmates who also attended, and learned about the wage gap between men and women, and overall has tried to understand just what. is. going. on. in his world.
It frightens me that I don’t have answers for him. I won’t lie, the events unfolding keep me up at night as I realize how little control I have over the big issues. What I can worry and focus on for the time being, moving into this uncertain future, what can I do for myself and for my beautiful children. What it boils down to is finding a sense of belonging. We are not white, or Christian, but we do belong here, and I will keep raising my voice as much as possible to make sure that it is heard.
My oldest son, who is 11, and myself. Picture credit, P. Freeburg (thanks Mrs. Freeburg!)
The crowd at Judkin Park went on forever and ever and ever, it seemed.
Washington state governor, Jay Inslee, even made an appearance!
Please take a moment to read his great editorial on why Washington State would stay a sanctuary to Syrian refugees
So many great signs, this was just a small sampling.
People of all ages gathering together, to have their voices heard.
My fabulous group of fellow marchers.
In our America, Love Wins.
Respect the different opinions that were out in force.
My oldest loved the Star Wars Resistance signage, plus he got to meet and talk with a Suffragette (and learn about history)
The march filled Jackson St.
And filled all of 4th as well. So much camaraderie and togetherness. STAND UP AND FIGHT.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” I want my children to look at me and see someone who stands up for others, in times of hardship. I want to raise my boys in a United States where people stand together, instead of tearing each other apart. I want to keep fighting for my voice to be heard, and if it means more marches, more posts, and more standing up for challenges, I will keep shouting.
Also, for every comment on this post, I’ll make a donation to the International Rescue Committee, which helps resettle refugees worldwide.