In true Portland fashion, it rained on Saturday. Actually, it poured.
Which only mattered a little bit because after exiting a very crowded train, we walked to a very crowded waterfront where we found ourselves in a very crowded space under the Morrison bridge…and out of the rain.
Yes, it was crowded – a wonderful problem to have when you’re attending a March in support of the rights of women and so much more.
Because this was never just about womens’ rights for me (although that is SO important). It was about a community coming together to fight against a government that so clearly wants to roll back the clock, isolate America from the rest of the world, disenfranchise groups like immigrants, the LGBT and the disabled, and make sure the rich get richer while the poor and middle classes are left without easy access to the basic necessities like education and healthcare.
I am a woman and an immigrant but I am so, so fortunate. I grew up in a country where healthcare was a free and basic right for everyone, where a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body was not at risk of being taken away and where I had access to a good tertiary education, without needing to take a student loan.
And, although I am an immigrant, I am white, middle class, and speak with an accent that most people find endearing rather than threatening. I have a job that provides health insurance and I live well above the poverty line. My privilege makes it my responsibility to stand up and make sure others have the opportunities that I’ve been granted simply because of where I was born and what I look like.
That’s what this march was about for me.
Thank you Portland for showing me that I am surrounded by like-minded neighbors who value these things as much as I do. 100,000 people stood with me on Saturday (yes, we stood more than we moved) and I feel like this is just the beginning. Our President says his election is the beginning of a movement and I think he’s right – he’s just mistaken about the direction we’re going.
We, the people. Not the individuals, the people.
This is just the beginning.