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Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Strong Voice

Saturday January 21 was a good day.  It was a good day to be a woman.  It was a good day to be politically active.  It was a great day to be a mother.

I remember the day I realized my mom was a bad ass.  She had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and was losing her ability to walk - but she wasn't giving up.  She came to DC by train and joined me at the Million Mom March.  She was tired of the random shootings (that was just the beginning of a terrible trend) and wanted to do something. Anything.  So she came to participate.  She couldn't actually march so we volunteered and worked at a booth.  She was a rock star. (Once I became a mom and then a single mom, I realized just how much of a rock star she is.  This was one of the first moments of recognition of that fact.)

For those of you too young to remember the march, here's some info:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million_Mom_March

I've participated in protests when I feel strongly enough about a topic to do so.  But my kids hadn't really had that opportunity yet.  And it's a sticky situation when I teach them one set of values and their dad doesn't agree. While I don't agree with his politics, I do take his feelings into consideration and bringing my kids to a large gathering that had the potential to have violence was tough.  I sat with my partner the night before trying to gauge the potential for problems.  Luckily, those concerns were unwarranted.

My girls were excited but didn't really know what to expect.  None of us did.  I clearly underestimated the number of people who would be on metro.  But folks were fun and friendly and passionate about their (our) rights.  I cannot accurately put into words the feelings of pride I felt while listening to my girls respond "this is what democracy looks like!" to the call of "show me what democracy looks like!"

In the week since the march, the world has changed greatly.  In Russia, domestic violence is no longer a crime.  In the US, the road for women's healthcare has become bumpier. Refugees are suspected terrorists - including children.  The list of marches we'll participate in and the number of times I have to call a member of congress to beg they use their brains increases.  It's like a full time job keeping track of all the changes happening and who to call to stop some of them.

My brain and heart hurt over it all.

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