Day 21 | Spokane Women’s March 2017
I grew up in Spokane, WA which is home to a fairly large percentage of Washington’s conservative population. I had always known that Spokane was conservative, but when I moved back in August, I was bombarded with Trump signs on every corner. I could hardly stomach driving around town and being reminded that most of my neighbors were voting for a man who has continuously spewed hatred for women, minorities, the disabled, immigrants, and the LGBT community. I have close friends who belong to every one of those groups, and I was embarrassed to live in a town that believes they are second class citizens. I didn’t understand how there were so many people in a blue state that would side with a man who believes that climate change is a hoax and wants to sell off our public lands to the highest bidder. I guess I had been living in Seattle too long. I guess that you forget what the world really looks like when you spend 3 years living in the country’s most educated city.
When I heard that my little city of Spokane was putting on a Women’s March to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump and stand up for women’s rights, I was in shock. Sure, there are progressive people in Spokane, but I figured the march would have a pretty pathetic turnout, if it actually happened at all. I mean, how many people here were really upset that he was elected? With the number of “MAGA” bumper stickers I’ve seen, it couldn’t be many. Even the organizers of the march had low expectations, originally estimating 100-200 attendees.
Regardless, I was going to join the march. I felt obligated to do my part to help protect not only women’s rights, but human rights. I drove myself downtown yesterday with hope that my city would surprise me, but doubt that it could. When I reached the convention center, my heart swelled with pride and it brought tears to my eyes. The streets were filled with men, women, and children of all ages. For all those that said the Women’s March was filled with old, white women, I can personally attest to the falsehood of that statement. People of every color joined together to, peacefully, make their voices heard. Our march was lead by the Spokane tribe. I overheard someone in the crowd ask why they were leading the march, and the response was “because they were here first.”
I couldn’t quite grasp how many people had turned out for the march until they started turning people away from entering the convention center which seats over six thousand. Still more gathered outside, waiting for the march to start. One of the speakers and long time activist, Sally Jackson, who is a close family friend, brought the crowd to their feet when she exclaimed that she had fought for women’s rights back in 1972 when “we were second class citizens, and we are never going to let that happen again.”
After today, I am no longer embarrassed to live in a town that supports Trump. I am proud to live in an America where people aren’t afraid to stand up and make their voices heard. An America that will fight for equal rights for all humankind. And I am proud to have been a part of the largest organized protest in American history. We are women. Hear us roar.