Oakland, CA — This weekend is the third anniversary of the Women’s March. Two years ago, I was on a plane flying from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to join thousands of women on the National Mall. I was traveling with my two best friends at the time, along with our moms.
After we arrived in D.C., we stayed in my friend’s aunt's apartment, anxiously preparing for our protest by cutting out felt letters and gluing them to blankets we could wear during the march. Mine was a pink snuggy that read, “My Body, My Future, My Choice.”
In the days leading up to the march, we'd sit on the balcony of the apartment and observe the people passing by. There were several smaller rallies leading up to the march, as well as some celebrations for the inauguration of Donald Trump. We watched pink pussy hats and red MAGA hats bob down the street below us, more than we could count. It was both uplifting and upsetting to see the mix.
On the day of the march, we entered a giant sea of people. I have never felt this sort of energy — the amount of love, anger and passion that moved through our group captivated me. I distinctly remember two guys standing up on top of a raised ledge wearing Trump shirts and MAGA hats. They stood there, drinking their beers and watching all of us. A woman stood next to them with a sign that just read, “Fuck this guy.”
We marched for seven hours that day. I never grew tired. Every moment that passed, every sign I read, every chant we yelled, seemed to make us stronger. We became a swarm (and were estimated to be around one million people), fueled by the energy we emitted. At the end of the day, we lay in bed and reflected on our day. I’ve never felt so empowered.
Although I was encouraged by the event, the march received a lot of backlash. Even during the first march, many critics questioned its lack of intersectionality. They felt it was not inclusive of women of color and trans women, and they pointed to the white women who organized it in the first place. I can only speak for myself. As a young woman of color, I did feel that there was a place for me. Marching amongst so many people deeply impacted my outlook.
So on Saturday at the Women's March in San Francisco, I’ll be attending with my close friend and I’m more than excited to feel that same sense of pride again.