This Saturday, as darkness slips away into silver morning, I will speak without words.
I will march.
I will do so alongside hundreds of thousands of others, one voice rising like silk from many hearts and minds.
We do not march because we are sore losers, or because we can’t “just get over it.” Those charges are simply manipulation – lies and misdirection thrown wide to distract from what’s really happening, much as a magician leaves an entranced audience convinced the impossible has occurred.
So why, then, will I rise early on a sleep-in Saturday, fight my way through crowds and travel hassles, stand for hours on cold and windswept city streets? Why will I march with one watchful eye on those I expect to ridicule us, at best, or assault us, at worst?
I will march, because we must humanize decisions made in the abstract, in granite halls open to only a handful of the 320 million Americans.
I will march, because we cannot be dismissed when we walk purposefully in the light.
I will march, because in 1987 I spent a birthday in Washington, tears striping my face as 2,000 panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were first spread across the National Mall. This chilling centerpiece was a heartbreaking mask illuminating the faces of a horrific, and ignored, pandemic. Half a million people saw the Quilt that weekend – and saw the faces of death lurking behind those remarkable, creative memorials. Hearts were touched, and minds began to follow.
I will march, because my soul fed on righteous defiance in 1994, when 1 million of us strode to the United Nations to say “no more” to being treated as lesser because of who we love. We marked the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, when gay Americans rose through blood and tears and fear to defy brutal New York police raids designed to break them. That weekend was power, togetherness, strength. And it fortified all who demand full rights for all humans.
I will march, because there is comfort and power in sharing space with like minds, as it did last summer when we walked in heartbroken silence, hand in hand, after hatred and gunfire ripped open an Orlando nightclub and our hearts. (Two terrible nights)
I will march, because I will not allow anyone to gaslight the valid concerns and opinions of millions of Americans, using lies and attacks to delegitimize them.
I will march, because the KKK and white supremacists will march the day before, and must not go unanswered.
I will march, because I love my friends of all colors, politics, religious beliefs, ages, orientations and genders.
I will march, because we have built an oligarchy, and we must not let it destroy this great country.
I will march, because as a member of a gender that accounts for 51 percent of the United States, I am not content that 17 percent of the new cabinet choices are women.
I will march, because I live a better life simply because of my skin.
I will march, because we must decry spectacularly unqualified candidates placed in positions of immense power over our lives and our democracy.
I will march, because sexual abuse is never OK, hair-trigger anger isn’t helpful, and keyboard bullying is always reprehensible.
I will march, because nature and the environment move my soul, and I won’t go backward in protecting it.
I will march, for those who cannot, or who do not feel safe doing so.
I will march, to reach out, to show those who disagree with me that we do have, or must find, common ground.
I will march, to remind those who love me, yet voted for Mr. Trump, that I matter, and that I will hold them to their promise to speak up for my rights.
I will march, because history has shown again and again that evil will, indeed, triumph when good people do nothing.
I will march, because government must be for all Americans, and partisanship is an evil rotting our government’s core.
I will march, alongside my goddaughters, because they represent the future.
I will march, because “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” (Thank you, Dr. King.)
I will march, because speaking out isn’t just the most American of actions. It is the most human of actions.