January 17, 2017
You don’t want to go to the Women’s March this Saturday. I understand; you’re eight, and two summers ago at a climate march you experienced the unfortunate combination of too much heat, exhaustion, and greasy eggrolls. We’re marching anyhow. I’m writing this because I want you to know why. I also want to tell your older self, so I’ll tuck this letter aside to show you again later.
Sometimes I feel small. Sometimes I wonder whether I can make a difference in the world. Especially when large groups of people make bad decisions over long spans of time (like prejudices or hurting the environment), I feel overwhelmed by the problem and wonder if anything I do will matter.
Most of the time, though, I know that small is good. Small kindnesses add up to make big kindnesses. Small efforts, like making friends or trying hard in school or helping at the church bazaar, make big things happen. Grown-ups forget this a lot. We rush to work on big things because it helps us feel important. But any change that lasts is made up of many small steps. Think about how many times you’ve practiced piano. Each time doesn’t seem to make a difference. But you can play Pachelbel’s Canon now. Practicing worked.
I also know that the best gift I can give the world is me. The best gift you can give is you. This sounds easy but it’s really hard. Each of us has a spark in us that’s totally different from everyone else’s spark. When you make that spark into a roaring fire, you warm everyone around you. I’m still learning about how to build that fire (that’s why I’m in school!), but I know it means loving what you love, and acting on that love. This doesn’t seem powerful, but it really is. Think about how much Grandma loved you, baking cookies with you and teaching you to sew. Grandma’s love is still all around you even though she died. Isn’t that super powerful?
Every once in a while, what’s happening in the big grown-up world and what’s happening in our small family world come together. Right now, a lot of people in our country are saying mean things—about women, about immigrants, about Muslims, about people with disabilities. You know how we’re teaching you to treat everyone with respect? Our new president is disrespectful to people who are different from him or who disagree with him. So right after he becomes our leader, we need to stand up and say, “Let’s respect each other!”
This is a moment when we can make our love shine out in the history of the United States. This is a chance to send our loving sparks out into the whole world. Moments like this don’t come often. That’s why we’re marching.
(No eggrolls afterward. I promise.)
There are opportunities to march across the nation and globe. Here is the vision and mission of The Women’s March:
We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.
The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.