Yesterday my youngest and I headed into DC for the March for Racial Justice and the March for Black Women. We marched back in January but we hadn’t marched since. I knew we’d only make it for part of the event as an all-day protest is a bit much to ask of a ten year old. (It had also been a ridiculously long week for me with far too little sleep so my own stamina was in doubt.) As a result, we headed in after the early speakers and met up with the marchers a little way into the route.
It was amazing to stand near the United States Capitol and watch and listen as the marchers headed toward us. We watched for a few minutes and then merged into the group. I felt hesitant as we did. I wasn’t certain we belonged. But being there was important to me and it was clearly important to my daughter. So we marched from the Capitol to the Department of Justice to the Trump International Hotel and on to the Mall. We listened to amazing drummers and musicians marching nearby and read brilliant signs. When everyone took a knee we joined them. We chanted Black Women Matter and What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! along with others.
But I never felt completely comfortable. I think my daughter did. I don’t think she felt differently marching yesterday than she had felt in January. For me, our otherness was always there. I am not a Black woman. I am not facing racial injustice. I felt a bit like an impostor at the march. For the record, no one at the march made me feel that way. I recognize this is all my own issue.
Being there, and being there with my daughter, was important to me. She had many questions throughout and my answers often made her quite angry. She asked at one point if Trump would hear us and I explained that he was in New Jersey golfing. She asked who paid for that and I told her we do. She was irate. Later she saw a sign that said, Voter ID = Jim Crow. My explanation of that one also made her angry. I finally told her that she was angry because she’s paying attention.
This is the sign that almost made me cry. My daughter asked me to explain it too. We talked about how it was clearly too late for me to march so that she doesn’t have to. That now we’re marching in the hopes that her children live in a world that is more equitable to all.
Too often I don’t do or say things because I am uncomfortable. Yesterday I didn’t let that discomfort stop me. Too often I think we, as white people, are unwilling to be uncomfortable.
I am thankful to all of the Black women and people of color who organized yesterday’s march. Comfort has never been an option for them. It’s time for it to stop being an option for so many of us as well.