WASHINGTON D.C.    |    JANUARY 21, 2017





I have never marched.  I have never been a politically-charged person.  I am a woman, a Latina, an American citizen, an adopted child, and a former immigrant.  I realize that I am also a privileged citizen in this country.  My parents, children of immigrants, worked hard to give me a life free from anxiety and full of comfort, and they instilled in me, by their example, a fervent work ethic.  I had a wonderful childhood.  I do recall being bullied for a time for looking a little different, and it was humiliating, but eventually my life stopped intersecting with those compelled to jeer, (though I can still remember their faces and some of their names). 

I am a sensitive person.  I understand the indispensable values of compassion and empathy, and that we humans, no matter our differences, generally want the same things - to be safe, to be comfortable, to be heard, and to be loved.  I understand and have learned these things from experience.

I also understand that there are things I don't understand, like being killed for the color of my skin; forced to leave my country because of war, my religion or my ethnicity; hated because I love someone of the same gender; raped, impregnated, and then blamed because of what I was wearing the night it happened; driven to suicide because I have faced more bullying and prejudice then I can bear.  I don’t understand what it’s like to face these unfathomable adversities, but I have friends and family, and friends of friends who are facing it today.  If we really pay attention, we most likely each know at least one person or know of one person who is suffering these atrocities right now. 

Exercising compassion and empathy is probably the most important task of being human today.  It is the first step to helping others, and may be the foundation of securing peace in our world.  We all have a responsibility, even if we think we don’t.  Our actions as well as our inaction reverberates adeptly from our singular place in this world to all of the people who know us best, and onward to people who do not know us at all in much the same way water moves outwards when a stone is tossed into its depths.  What deeply affects you?  Has it been something you experienced first-hand, a post on social media, a news headline, a presidential election?  Then you can understand the truth in this.  We are all deeply and inevitably connected to one another.

Personally, my sense of identity and morality was belittled this year, and it reminded me of that adolescent bullying so long ago.  Until this election, I had not been moved to act in any significant political manner besides exercising my right to vote.  Things have changed.  I have witnessed an evil I thought inconceivable in our advanced nation, and people I know and love are now afraid.  They speak to me about their fears, the pending restrictions of their freedom, the renewed hatred they are facing for being different.  I see it in their eyes, I hear it in their voices, I feel their pain in my bones when they cry.  It is unacceptable.  It is unbearable to witness.  This is how I found myself compelled by a quaking force of fury and frustration to join the Women’s March in Washington D.C.  I needed an outlet; I needed to commit to action on behalf of my loved ones; I needed to find hope.

And my pictures are my experience.  They are not of angry women spewing mindless hatred towards the opposing gender from ludicrous platforms, as I’ve found people who did not attend this event, have judged of it.  I found everyone here.  Young and old, individuals and families, people of all different colors, religions, ethnicities, and genders.  I found that every humane platform imaginable, including the judicious plea for women’s equality, was recognized and supported.  I found that as we 500,000 people delicately balanced on our compromised sanity, it was not anger that permeated the atmosphere, but surprising and resilient humor, joy, love, and breathtaking waves of empathy and compassion.  Standing in the presence of this diverse gathering of people committed to the principal of safety, equality, and peace for all citizens of this world renewed my sense of self, instilled hope in the future, and filled me with the belief that I can make my own reverberations to positively affect and alter this world for the better.  Yes, this march, cloaked in the wisdom of Martin Luther King’s principals of non-violent protest renewed me.  For a moment we truly were a microcosm of what the world could be.  It was one of the most extraordinary moments of my life, and I need to share it with you so that you, too, might have hope. 

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