More Than A Protest: My Experience At The Women’s March On Washington

This past Saturday, millions of Americans took to the streets to march. Women, men, kids, grandparents, activists, celebrities, and even dogs were present.

The Women’s March on Washington is reported to be the biggest one-day protest in U.S. history with over three million people present nationwide.

If you were in Washington, D.C. this past Saturday like me, you were among a crowd of people wearing pink pussy hats, ranging of all ages, holding clever signs and chanting for several causes. Energies were high that day.

When I came across the march for the first time on Facebook, I remember I immediately pressed the “Going” button. I didn’t care how I was getting there or of the potential risks being in D.C. a day after Trump’s inauguration.

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Zerline Alvarez

I just had a feeling it was going to be an important historical moment.

Weeks passed and I was worried I was not going to be able to take the trip. After finding that trains were booked I emailed bus transportation organizers trying to find decent prices. I told myself I’d settle for the sister march in Manhattan, NY if I had no luck.

Exactly a week before the march I found a ride. My trip partners: driver Karina wearing her “Protect Trans Youth” sweatshirt and Myesha riding on the passenger seat wearing her “Make America (“Great Again” crossed off) Woke” snapback. Me?

I was in the back seat coughing, sneezing, and sniffling away. Thanks for the Tylenol Myesha!

Zerline Alvarez
Zerline Alvarez

We arrive around 11:15 a.m., find parking, and proceed to follow the crowd towards the march’s starting point. My dad calls to let me know we unfortunately, missed actress America Ferrera’s fiery speech.

With my tissue in one hand and my camera in the other, squeezing myself through the crowd in order to get closer to the stage, we quickly realized that the area was closed off due to lack of capacity.

At some point the girls and I had a little scare when we lost Myesha in the crowd for a few minutes while she was looking for a scarf she dropped. We were probably so infused in the experience that we forgot to locks arms when moving.

Despite the lack of mobility, my uncontrollable cough attacks, and not being able to actually march, I was glad to have experienced the trip.

Zerline Alvarez
Zerline Alvarez

Unlike the day prior, where over 200 anti-Trump protesters were arrested for rioting and destroying business property during the inauguration, the atmosphere of the Women’s March did not resemble at all the fog and cloudy skies of that day.

I saw people interacting with one another, having conversations, cheering each other on. It was a proud moment for me.

I was able to have witnessed women, #BlackLivesMatter, Muslim, immigrants, and Native American protestors showing no fear in having their voices heard.

My favorite sight was fathers carrying their daughters exposing them to what a fight for justice looks like. It felt as if I was part of one of the most important first national protests in years.

Zerline Alvarez
Zerline Alvarez

In my experience, it was a peaceful and educational march about resistance against our president, a man who preaches hate in the hopes of dividing a nation. But yesterday proved that this nation is indivisible.

Regardless of the different causes protestors were fighting for, whether it be women’s rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, etc. it seems like we all had one thing in common: fighting for human rights.

And as I read in several signs at the march: I can’t believe we’re still fighting for this shit.

My question is will we continue these efforts in the next four years, possibly eight? Will we still have the courage to protest and shake authorities as our rights are continuously threatened. According to various news outlets, there are lawmakers in eight states working to criminalize peaceful protests.

Zerline Alvarez
Zerline Alvarez

This new administration has shown that it’s going to do everything in their power to turn this country upside-down.

Constant resistance by all of those who feel negatively affected from it is needed, for the sake of future generations and our own mental health and quality of life.

Profile photo of Zerline Alvarez
Zerline Alvarez

Zerline is a freelance writer and documentary photographer based in NYC. Her most important mission in life is to enhance the lives of others and create social change through activism and her craft. She enjoys reading, being among family and friends, and collaborating with creatives.