Due to being in the right place at the wrong time, Derrick and I aren’t able to make any Pride events this year in North America… other than DC. So a few months back, we penciled DC in. When we heard about the Equality March, my entire body knew we needed to pen DC Pride in. The divide between people, the absurdity of the administration, the general blaming of others. I’m coping, but I am struggling. For so many days, I’ve felt helpless in a quickly moving world, dominated by fear, uncertainty, and anger. That fear, uncertainty, and anger has been getting under my skin more and more the last few months, which is something I am finally starting to name. More than ever, I need to reconnect with something bigger and brighter than me. I need to remember that no matter what the news is, and what twitter informs me of, we are united.
It’s Sunday morning. We’re a little sleepy (I blame the high school style water bottle drinks from the day before), yet we’re focused. We fill up on our hotel breakfast, and donning our rainbow socks and colorful shirts, we head out into the very hot day. We know we’re in the right direction when we board the subway: every other person is donning some sort of glitter, or rainbow. We sit down, and within a few minutes, an older man in front of us starts talking. Small chat, but a human connection on a subway! He tells us a little about his trip, and suggests a different subway stop than we had planned. We get off together, and quickly part ways. Yet this little connection is refreshing, and I wonder why we’re so afraid, or annoyed by these connections on every other day? Although we’re not totally sure where we’re going, we trust the rainbow. In no time, we are at the front of the March.
It’s very organized… chaos. People everywhere. A guy with an official t-shirt and vest is trying to get the crowd ready to go. With every step we take, the crowds grow and grow. Thousands and thousands of people, of signs, and of course rainbows. What’s wonderful is there is a focus, and a pride in the air. This is a moment.
We are each handed a sign by a woman from Orlando, and asked if we will carry it. The sign reads Remember Pulse: #HonorThemWithAction. It hadn’t registered that today marked one year since the Orlando shooting. It’s grounding. Of course we take the signs, and with extreme gratitude she thanks us. A moment later, two men, also from Orlando, thank us for taking the signs. They hand us a rainbow ribbon each, and when we take them without question, they say thank you with the most sincere mindful gratitude.
After the two men move along, we look at each other, kind of wondering what we just took. Despite the very real tragedy that this is to commemorate, words of love, heart, hope, and happy pop out to me. I have been incredibly privileged in my life in terms of general safety, and well-being. For me, bad is typically temporary, and usually it’s not all that bad. I’m reminded that for others, bad is just the start, and worse is often a reality. I carried fear when coming to this March, and we prepared ourselves for protests. We prepared ourselves for things to go wrong. Yet in this moment, the world was presenting me with a new message: love, heart, hope, and happy. Suddenly, the crowd is moving, and I’m brought back to the present. We hop a fence, and step into the streets.
There are chants, asking for change, and demanding to be heard. There are very real struggles that we are facing, and there is even more uncertainty of what’s to come. After we pass the White House, there is this quiet that comes over the crowd. Hundreds of people surrounding us, but there isn’t a sound from anyone. Instead of resisting it, or judging it, I lean into it. I breathe it in. We are so fortunate to be here today. I let my mind stop the fighting, and the arguments, and just pause. The calm, and the release. The space feels huge, and refreshing.
And we keep marching.
A few highlights from any March of course are the signs.
Also, this guy, who literally parked his cart in the middle of the street. Amazing. And let me tell you, Derrick was very happy.
Today was about reminding us that we aren’t alone. That we are, in fact, more united, more connected, and more filled with love than ever before. There are people that traveled from all over the country, and all over the world, to be here. We are activated as one community, and that is a beautiful thing.
There were no counter protests. There were no threats. There was one person decked out with a Make America Great Again hat and a Trump shirt on at the rally component of the March. My gut initially tightened, yet I paused and breathed into it, and as the ribbon recommends, “keep love in my heart, and hope will follow”. He looked around, walking his bike slowly. Like all of us, he seemed to be taking in the beautiful energy that filled the Washington Mall. I assume that he means well, so I smile and move along. We are all one community.
So what’s the point of Marching you might be asking? It’s a really good question, that I encourage you to ponder. My thoughts are that it’s an active clear signal that voices are not being heard. It’s a start to getting involved. This is not people sitting anonymously at home behind a screen: people are taking action in a mobilized healthy and peaceful way. Today’s March is powerful, emotional, and strong. It is still anger, fear, and confusion. And yes, it is love, heart, hope, and happy.
Song of the Day: Disappear (Dear Evan Hansen). One of my favorites from the newly minted Tony Winner for Best Musical, and a perfect Equality March for Unity anthem.