Originally published in The New Civil Rights Movement
Update: By the time we arrived to march at the Women’s March in NYC, over 600 people had registered to march as part of the LGBTQI community with EQNY.
Our son cried when we told him Donald Trump won the election. My husband and I held him and told him everything would be ok. “What do we do when things need to be fixed?” we asked. “We get to work.”
That’s why we loaded up on snacks and water, met friends at the subway stop, and joined T’ruah and tens of thousands of New Yorkers to march in NYC a few days later. And that’s why we’ve made new signs and are heading downtown on Saturday for the Women’s March on NYC. This time we’ll be marching with over 250 members of the LGBTQI community in the Equality New York group. We’ll be among over a hundred thousand expected at the Women’s March on NYC, and the hundreds of thousands expected to march around the world.
With each new headline, and each new tweet, the feelings threaten to overwhelm. This is not the world we imagined raising our son in.
I am reminded of something Ruth Messinger once said. The Global Ambassador for American Jewish World Service, and former Manhattan Borough President, is no stranger to tackling the unimaginable. She said “Fear is not enough and despair is not a strategy.” We’ve got plenty of both these days.
But we also have what might be an unprecedented groundswell of organizing happening, progressive patriotic Americans who won’t let go of our values. In meeting rooms and living rooms across the country we are getting together to support each other, learn, and act. And in the LGBTQI community, our generations of experience are being put to good use. Equality New York is new, rising up from within the community to fill a gap in political organizing in New York State. When we decided to organize an LGBTQI contingent we thought 25 people might show up. Instead the numbers are growing hourly. Since starting to write this we’ve gone from 250 to 266.
It is exciting to see the numbers of expected marchers around the world grow. But it’s inspiring to watch communities march together. Our country has always been in flux, a constant back and forth in the work of cultural change to become more free and just. We thought we had come farther, that we would never have to face this quite this kind of administration.
Our pursuit of equality and justice has throughout history seen victories and setbacks. The challenges we face are real, and the call to action is urgent, but millions of Americans are now standing up and standing together to defend the rights and values we have too often taken for granted.
We find power and strength when we come together as a community. The Trump-Pence administration is intent on limiting social, racial, and economic justice. But being together reminds us that we are the majority and we have power. In other words, fear and despair may be real, but they won’t stop us.
My husband and son will be there with me Saturday, marching one step at a time, alongside the many diverse communities that already make America great and give us hope for the future. I hope you’ll join us.