By Guest Blogger Mary Ann, who left Canada to march in Washington
When the American election happened, I was so shocked and so was my sister. Right after the election there was an overwhelming feeling that we must do something. Because when the American elephant rolls over, the Canadian mouse can get crushed.
On the 17th of November, we booked our hotel room.We looked for buses and people were already booking buses. It was an organic and grassroots movement, no official organizers at that time. There were 7 buses going from Franklin Maryland so that’s where we booked. Everything was moving by the 17th.
I had to do something with women. The election was a slap to my whole sense of being a woman. That the most qualified woman lost to a clown. Women suddenly began to tell their stories. One man on our bus came because for the first time his wife told him her stories, the sexism that had happened to her in her life. We all began to tell our husbands and friends what has happened to us in our lives.
Before Christmas, they were trying to stop the march, I felt, saying women couldn’t get the permits, couldn’t use the Mall. It was a moment of faith, we all went anyway. Women showed up individually not part of the “official” march. They weren’t the leaders, women just came. It wasn’t about the celebrities, most couldn’t hear them. Women came from all over the states.
I was too young to burn my bra. To get to 57 and never been on a march. Most of the women had never been on a march or political ever. A lot were marching for their dead mothers. I felt letdown as a woman and I needed to gather.
We found out we were not alone! A million, yes it was a million, got off their asses and marched in Washington and millions more knitted hats, sat in coffee shops and cheered. Millions more marched in cities around the world.
You didn’t know everyone was going to wear the pussy hats but everyone did and everyone had a handmade sign.
Marchers were stunned and grateful we came from Canada. They were terrified when they found out that Canadians were turned away at the border. They then knew that bad things were happening already.
A Metro staff member started to cry when she found out that we came to support American women. She said, “I’m black, female and gay. I’m the one they hate.”
Women on the bus were amazed that I was once a school trustee. I told them they have to fill all the positions: council, trustees, sheriff, and then move on to the higher offices. That’s what the Republicans have done. Make sure the person is electable. When I told them about our popular Canadian Sikh defense minister, they were shocked that could happen. They all love Justin Trudeau.
This march shows us what’s possible in Waterloo Region, in Canada, in America, all over the world. This is the Women’s uprising, like the Arab Spring. Now I will do something.