It was early on Election Day 2016, but I was heading to bed — the stress of the day and its implications rested heavily on me. Fearful, I checked the earliest stats — exit polls, numbers starting to roll in... it was exactly then that I knew we were fucked. The following day was spent mourning. The next had me asking — to myself and aloud; in earnest — how do we fix this?
Fast forward to present day: DIBS attends the 2018 Women’s March in Philadelphia with special correspondent, 9-year-old Vivienne Grant. At our core we are strong, independent females with an enlightened worldview that takes into account the multi-colored strands that different nationalities, genders, and ideologies weave into a beautiful society. These threads are all currently being laid bare and actively threatened under our current administration.
I can’t speak for the entire DIBS team here, but I do not actually believe that protests “do” anything. I don’t think demolition teams spare certain trees because someone chains themselves to them, and I don’t think you could say the length of the Vietnam war was shortened due to non-violent peace rallies or sit-ins. However, I do believe they are not only important, but absolutely vital in order to keep a sense of what is occurring deep in the dug-in roots of society. The only way to get the Suits who run the show to listen if you can’t afford to buy an ear.
To reiterate what Trump said, it was a beautiful day to get out and march. An odd 50-degree day in January (the one-year anniversary of his inauguration), DIBS would have to accept that.
We were on the move!
We followed the flow of the crowd towards the art museum steps and with mini-reporter Vivienne on hand she scrambled and squeezed her way to the front near the stage — she persisted! — the two, grown reporters, awkwardly shuffling through behind. Speeches and music were presented which highlighted many reasons to be invigorated into action and raising a voice.
What was most striking to me was the beautiful mosaic of people, signs and reasons why the thousands of people were there. I noticed an extraordinary amount of variation on themes for the day: empowerment, acceptance, equality, among other things. Each person’s attendance seemed to be as unique as their own thumbprint or strand of their DNA.
On the way back we raised the question- Why are YOU here today?
A group of young women and men cited simply “Equality.”
Our small helper on-hand, Vivienne, mentioned disaster relief for Puerto Rico (also the subject of a speech by Beatrice Sanabria-Caraballo).
Two young women mentioned being there to represent Haitians.
“Lending support to women,” an older gentleman said.
A woman who had not been drawn out to dissent since the protests against the Vietnam war mobilized for the women’s march because she is “against silence.”
A seated woman said she was there because she wanted to “be among a group of women who empower [her].”
A woman held a sign with a mirror asking march attendees to recognize how they were complicit and said the best way to combat this is by listening to marginalized groups.
The array of answers we gathered provided evidence for the need for a march of this kind whose slogan was “We Resist, We Persist, We Rise”. The march was hardly the period at the end of a sentence; It was all of us, pushing hard against a door to get it to budge open — process started in the wake of the election last year. By doing this, all of us are creating an opening to allow for discourse on change; POSITIVE change. Let me tell you, looking forward, I can start to see the light shining through that entryway.
Words by Larissa Nemeth | Images by Cristina Byrne