Thank you, Women's March

This week has been heavy, turbulent and dark. I felt speechless as I watched hundreds of thousands of women march through my new city, and I was speechless again at the backlash that ensued.

I wanted to say a lot of things in response — I wanted to detail every minute of the day for the women who wished they could be here. I wanted to scream at the women who didn’t. I wanted to cry when women posted that they “didn’t need feminism.” I wanted to force Trump supporters to explain to me why they didn’t care about my rights.

But there are too many other people who have already done those things, and I needed to contribute something different to the Internet. I had to write something positive, because God knows that we need it right now.

My mother always taught me to write thank-you notes, so here I am, offering up the only sentiment that has stayed with me consistently for the past week:

Thank you, Women’s March.

Thank you for showing us that we are not alone. People started trickling down my street before 7 a.m., and by the time I joined in at 9:30, the crowd on Capitol Street was massive — the march didn’t even start until 2 p.m.

Thank you for proving that women can show up for each other. After the election I was convinced that we were incapable of it, that society had pitted us against each other for so long that we cared more about our race than our womanhood. We didn’t do that this time.

Thank you for teaching me that I have much more to learn about feminism than I could even imagine. I thought I was well-versed in intersectionality before Saturday morning, but now I’ve gotten to see it in action. Race, age, religion, nationality, sexuality and all of the ways we usually feel divided are actually what brought us together. Our feminism cannot exist without the rest of our identities.

Thank you for reminding me that peace is not stillness. I moved in unison with 500,000 people from all over the nation and world, and even for the 6 hours that we stood together patiently waiting to march, we were not still — we were awakened. We took turns sitting down; we shared food and water. We cheered and cried and laughed and chanted and applauded for each and every one of the humans that showed up with us. To be surrounded by a vortex of love and support in opposition to the hate and fear emanating through our nation was the most genuine peace I've ever felt. 

Thank you for instilling hope in the 3.4 million people who marched all over the world, and in everyone who wanted to be there. Since November 8, my belief in humankind has been shattered, by faith in the system has fettered, but you, Women’s March, gave a piece of it back to me.

Thank you for making me realize that Hillary didn’t lose — none of us did. We can’t lose if the fight isn’t over.

You proved to me that the future is female, but the present is female too. It is female, male, black, brown, white, rich, poor, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, atheist, undocumented, unnaturalized, unemployed. Because the future is all those things too, it will be ours.

Now I can never un-know that.

With limitless gratitude,

Halah Flynn