You Belong

On Saturday, January 21st people all over the world joined together for the Womens' March. The streets were flooded with colorful signs with messages of action and love for the new administration. All three of us - Mary Beth, Jacki and Jenny - were in different cities and wanted to share a few snapshots from this very meaningful day.

Mary Beth LaRue: Washington DC

I bought my flight to DC just a few days after the election. I was so sickened by the divisive rhetoric during the campaign and the new administration's plans for action that threatened the rights of so many people that I love.

I will never ever forget walking down a street in Capitol Hill with my 72 year-old father, who says the Rosary every single day, as we protested and marched for what we believe in. To be with both of my parents, my younger brother and his wife and friends from all over the country, and to see the passion and love that inspired so many others to be there as well inspired hope within me, something that had been absent for the past few months.

I bought my flight to DC and will continue to fight the deplorable actions of this administration for one reason:

You belong.

You belong whether you worship Jesus or Allah or Ganesha. You belong whether your skin is black or white or purple or brown. You belong if you love a man, or a woman, or both. And on and on and on. You belong if you voted for Trump. You belong if you didn't.

I believe we all belong and are worthy of love, and that doesn't exclude just one group here and another group there. We are equal and should be treated as such.

We are divided. We must start having the conversations about what matters, what scares us, what we love. You belong and I belong and that's the simple truth.

Jenny Wood: Los Angeles, CA

We woke up ready to do something meaningful. When we got to the subway, it was flooded: with signs, people, and a palpable feeling of "we are here to do SOMETHING" in the air. It was electric to be on a subway train filled to the brim with people in a city where people normally spend their day-to-day life inside their cars. We could all feel something beautiful brewing. There were smiles, hugs, conversations, community and people physically making space for others to stand close next to them. 

When we got off the train, it took almost 20 minutes just to get to the street. We were chanting below the streets, holding each other up with just our voices. I have never, in my 7 years in LA, felt so loved by strangers, so "in it" with everyone. We moved over to make space, we helped each other move forward, we helped moms carry their strollers, we held hands with people we may not have ever talked to on any other day. I've never felt more apart of a collective moment of courageous human beings. We were all here to stand together and it didn't matter how we got there, just that we all were there, now.

One of the most beautiful things about the march in LA was that there wasn't a single arrest, not a single act of violence, among a crowd of over 750,000 people. It was such a peaceful and intentional day of ordinary people, compelled by LOVE, to show up and commit to belonging, together.

My heart felt lighter, freer, and hopeful for the first time in months. It was like we were all taking a collective deep breath and without the person standing next to us, we wouldn't have been able to. We need community, understanding, empathy, compassion and new boundaries. Without leaving the comfort of our point of view, we cannot see the beauty that abounds in everyone around us.

I marched because I am committed to broadening my view, to holding space for everyone to feel and be loved, to continue to build a bridge to what I don't understand and listen, deeply, for that whisper that we all BELONG.  
 

Jacki Carr: Denver, CO

I woke up and thought for a moment in time, maybe I should not go. I had committed to going, I had said 'yes' and I had told friends I would be there marching with them, be it in Denver or with all my friends in all the cities all over. 

Yet as a new Mother, I have been navigating a heightened level of fear in my mind. I know it is not real and yet it comes knocking more than I can ever remember, since the days of being scared at sleepovers in my youth, that is. I woke up with the fear that something might happen to me at that march and I started writing a story in my mind. I started to let fear take over. 

I paced in my house. I snuggled my daughter. And I got dressed. I put on my ripped jeans and my sweatshirt that reads 'STRONG AS A MOTHER'. I woke up my little sister and said, "Let's go march". 

I kissed my husband in my yellow kitchen as he held our 8 month old daughter Evergreen Marie and I told him and I told her I was going to march for equality, I was going to march for diversity, I was going to march for my beliefs and I was going to march so she can know that Mama stood her ground for herself, her family and her baby girl's future and all the babies' futures. I was going to march for LOVE. 

And I marched right out that door and we drove toward Civic Center Park in Denver. My sister and I walked up to the most incredible group of human beings, a huge group representing in Denver, Colorado. There were chants, laughter, high fives, and there was anger, sadness and heavy hearts, too. 

My fear dissolved as I stepped each step in purpose. And I remembered that I belong here on this Earth. I lead by example, I stand in my truth and my action creates possibilities. And I remembered that every single human being belongs with all their gifts and magic to offer. I want to live in that World, where my fear dissolves and we step together offering all our gifts on purpose. And I marched on next to my sister and all my sisters.