Saving the World: The Women’s March in Washington, D.C., January 21 2017
The Dalai Lama said at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit that “The world will be saved by the western woman.” I felt the power of western women when I marched on Saturday, January 21 at the Women’s March. Washington D.C. was not the only place to host a march. Chicago, San Francisco, and Baltimore, held marches. Cities all over the world and on all the continents drew women and men in solidarity to march and highlight women’s voices.
I was in a sea of people between the Native American Museum, Air and Space, and the Smithsonian. We were denied permission to rally on the mall itself. There were so many of us that we ended up there anyway. Both women and men marched together. There was no violence, no disagreement. A Native American woman sang a haunting song to the ancestors. I remembered that in their culture women did not sit on the council, but the women chose the men who did.
This is what women do. If something needs to happen, we figure out a way to do it. We sing, pray, comfort babies, tend to the elderly, speak up and lead. We step into the circle that emerges as safe space.
We are not currently in a safe space. Gloria Steinhem, an elder of our time, said at the march, “This is an outpouring of democracy like I have never seen in my life….This is a day that will change us forever.” Our world demands courage and action. Sometimes being witness is an important beginning.
We may not know or understand all that led to this moment, and that doesn’t really matter. We feel it and we carry on. The western woman abounds in paradox: we have great freedom even as we are relegated to less of many things. But from that freedom grows strength. “I am not afraid. I was born to do this,” said Joan of Arc.
The women at the march on January 21 were ready to balance with men, not dominate them. Like darkness and light, summer and winter, opposites provide dynamic tension. I believe that this long, persistent imbalance is now pivoting us towards home.