The following speech was delivered at The Women' March in Montpelier, Vermont, where 10,000 to 20,000 people gathered. So many people were trying to get to the march that they closed three interstate exits because the city streets couldn't handle more cars.
Hello Everybody, Sisters and Brothers,
What a beautiful sight you are. It's like Spring has arrived in Vermont and thousands of flowers are blooming in front of the State House.
I feel a "crowd hug."
We are not alone in our fear, we are not alone in our despair, we are not alone in our grief for what might have been.
We are together in our strength , together in our power, and together we march.
Why do we march?
We march for RESPECT
We march for EQUAL PAY
We march for THE RIGHT TO CONTROL OUR BODIES
We march for A LIVABLE PLANET
WE march for THE END OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
We march for HEALTH CARE FOR ALL
We march for PUBLIC EDUCATION
We march for THE CONSTITUTION
AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS.
AND WHO ARE WE?
We are brown, black, yellow and white.
We are gay, straight, transgender and queer. We are wives, mothers, grandmothers, singles, sisters, daughters and lovers.
We are teachers, students, professors, waitresses, sales clerks, bartenders, nurses, doctors, artists, lawyers, farmers, factory workers, cooks, caregivers and WE ARE IMMIGRANTS.
We are here to pledge to be OUR SISTERS AND BROTHERS KEEPERS. And we are here because "women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights," all over the world.
Can we do this?
Will we make a difference?
Have we got the power?
(Crowd roared, "Yes, we can!)
The pendulum has swung so fast from Obama to Trump that we are experiencing whip lash. I assure it will swing back again -- when we push hard.
We have a rock to stand on. It is called Democracy
It is called the Constitution.
THE CENTER WILL HOLD.
But only if we are vigilant. Only if we use our voices and our feet.
We must demonstrate that there is another America.
An America that looks like us, that thinks like us that believes in the America that we believe in.
It is we who make America.
It is we who make America great.
We are the makers, the doers, the dreamers.
We are the citizens, who have the power of the vote.
In the next four years, we will be heard, not only in this place at this time, but throughout the land, in towns and cities and in our nation's capital, and all over the world where people are marching with us.
We pledge NOT TO BE SILENT.
We pledge NOT TO BE INTERRUPTED
We pledge NOT TO BE SIDELINED
We pledge NOT TO BE STOPPED
We pledge NOT TO BE AFRAID,
And we pledge NOT TO LOSE HOPE.
We must keep hope alive.
I will read the first stanza of a poem called "Hope" by Emily Dickinson.
"Hope is a thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all."
We must have hope, we must be vigilant, and we must proclaim that it is OUR America that makes AMERICA GREAT.