Right after the U.S. election this past November, the internet was ablaze with news that a march was being organized in Washington, D.C. My friends and I were like, “We should go!” And really, though we felt we should go, it wasn’t something we could do for various reasons. Other than catching some tweets and reading things here and there, the march in D.C. on January 21st, 2017 wasn’t looking like a part of my reality.

A week before the scheduled march, though, I learned that there was one being organized in Vancouver which isn’t too far from where I live. So, the idea began to brew again: I should go!

If you recall, I’ve been struggling with this mental block of feeling like I don’t have the freedom to do the things I want. Not because anyone is tying me to a chair and telling me this, but because every time I look at my calendar to check if an event is feasible, I encounter 4 other people’s schedules. The odds of a clash are great. So, for a long time I have been telling myself, ‘I can’t’ or ‘It’s too hard.’

The idea of going to the march in Vancouver planted itself in my head but every time it came to the forefront of all the other things occupying my brain, I would send it back into the depths of my mind with a reason why it wouldn’t work or why it would be too complicated. Now, I’m not entirely irrational about this. It is sometimes complicated. But sometimes it’s also a matter of getting creative, or even getting brave. Like when I decided at 7 am last Saturday that I would take my 3 year old daughter whether or not it was the best idea. I just knew that if I didn’t at least try, I would always wish I had.

When my 9 year old heard I was going she wanted in on it, too. So, I let her skip her religion class that morning and in fact, I was thankful for her company and the extra set of hands I kind of knew I would need. I made sure the stroller was in the van, snacks were packed for both girls and figured we would just get there and see how we fared.

Getting there was a breeze – I couldn’t believe I didn’t hit any traffic! I found meter parking a couple blocks from Jack Poole Plaza, and the girls and I followed the pink hats down toward the music. We got right up close to the stage. Once we found the spot we would hang out at over the next 45 minutes to listen to speeches, my youngest asked for a snack. And then she asked for another, and another, and got louder and louder. I had to cave and give her my oldest daughter’s snacks, too! As predicted, my youngest got tired of sitting in her stroller so I let her out. Unfortunately, she didn’t just want to be out of the stroller, she wanted to push it through a crowd of peaceful protesters who were standing still. She literally was the only violent protester there, ramming wheels into unsuspecting people’s ankles. Finally, I got her back in the stroller and handed her her water bottle which she was pleased to see after inhaling all those salty snacks. Less than two minutes later, when they announced we would now start marching, the woman to my right tapped me on the shoulder and said, “She’s spilled her water.” And that she did. All down the front of her shirt and pants. And it pooled in her lap, soaking her through to her skin.

I’ll fast forward to say, we left at that point! But do I regret my last-minute attempt at being part of a movement I believe in? No. Do I regret taking my oldest who was amazed at the number of people who care about important issues? No. If there’s a march again and my youngest is still in this stage of ‘eat and spill all the things’ will I leave her at home? Absolutely.

Here are my first 5 quick thoughts about the Women’s March on Washington in Vancouver:

  1. Wow, we have a lot of activists in the Lower Mainland!
  2. I’m thankful my oldest understood that all these people care about HER – as a girl, as a person of colour, as a human being.
  3. I can’t believe we are still marching about these things, but I’m damn proud that we are.
  4. I don’t understand why the local Black Lives Matter chapter was not included in the planning, organizing and presenting of this march. I’m looking into that today for another article.
  5. I’d like to see how we can go forward as an inclusive, action-centric movement.

Did you attend the march in your area? What were your thoughts? Favourite signs? ‘Like’ our Facebook page, Her Story Media, for some more thoughts on feminism and women’s experiences.

women's march on washington vancouver, women's march, feminist, taslim jaffer, let me out creative

taslim jaffer, let me out creative