As soon as I heard about the Women’s March on Washington, I knew I had to go. I was still feeling bad about missing the Million Mom March on May 14, 2000. My children were much younger and it was on Mother’s Day, so I rationalized that I really should stay home. I still haven’t forgiven myself for that one.
I asked friends if they wanted it go with me to Washington on January 21st. Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right for them, so I just bought a single seat on a local bus. I was asked to be a bus captain on the third bus out of Fanwood, NJ. Sure, why not?
About 10 days prior to the march, I had put my 18-year-old daughter Micayla back on a plane to college after winter break. She attends John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. I was pretty upset that she would not be home to march with me in Washington. Within days of my daughter arriving in Rome, she informed me that there was a sister march planned over there as well. We were both thrilled!
We were FaceTiming back-and-forth for days before the march. She told me about the planned activities in Rome, and I attended a meeting and conference call with organizers. It was all so exciting! I made my sign complete with my daughter’s picture. I needed her close to me.
While I could not physically march with my daughter, we marched together in spirit. Because Rome is six hours ahead of us here in NJ, Micayla called me at about 5:15am via FaceTime. At that time, we were just boarding our bus to start our four-hour journey to D.C. Through my phone, she showed Fanwood Bus #3 what the sister march in Rome looked like. Seeing marches in Rome and all of the others happening all over the world through social media completely energized our group of bleary-eyed warriors. It was at that moment that we realized what this was—it was history. And I was able to share it with my daughter who was half a world away. My baby girl—now a woman—was marching with me in solidarity for causes we deeply believed in. I do not think I was ever more proud.
After the seeing dismaying results of the 2016 Presidential election, I was left fearful and worried for the future of our country. When I heard about the Women’s March on Washington, I was thrilled to see thousands of women would be coming together to voice their concerns, but I was disappointed to hear that I would not be able to attend.
I left for school a little over a week before the march with the intention of streaming it live online and watching it from my apartment in Rome. But then I found out about the sister march in Rome that was taking place at the Pantheon—only a 25-minute walk from my apartment! I told my mom I would go to this while she marched in Washington DC and we were both thrilled!
Growing up in an incredibly loving, accepting, and progressive household, I have always had a safe place to land if I was feeling lost. I am so incredibly lucky for that. My parents taught me to always stand by what I believe in and to fight with my words, rather than turning to violence.
I went with some friends and we arrived about 20 minutes early. I saw as the area filled up with women and men who would attend the march. Soon, it was crowded with colorful posters and pink hats and scarves. There were good vibes everywhere. People were chanting, singing, laughing, and coming together as one.
I was able to join millions of women all around the world to share our grievances and our hopes for the future. Going to this march proved to be one of the most exciting, empowering, inspiring, and rewarding things I’ve ever done. Knowing that I was walking alongside my mom on the other side of the world was the best thing of all.
I have so many strong women in my life that I look up to (especially my beautiful mother) and it is these women that give me the courage to step up and speak out for myself and other people who do not have a voice. I marched for them. I marched for my mother, my grandmothers, my aunts, and my cousins. I marched for my friends and my best friends. I marched for my girlfriend. I marched for my sisters in the LGBTQ+ community. I marched for my sisters facing discrimination not only in America, but all over the world. I marched for women who may no longer have control of their own bodies. I marched for women I’ve known all my life and for women I’ve met once. I marched for women I’ve never met. I marched for all women, everywhere.
Check out Micayla’s photos from the march in Rome
Check out Phyllis’ photos from the march in Washington