The crowds grew denser as I made my way down 19th Street from Fairmount into Center City, Philadelphia. I smiled at the men and women carrying signs, high-fiving a few and taking pictures of others. The energy was palpable and built further as I approached the base of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 16th Street. Many of the women were like me: middle-aged and survivors of the AIDS crisis and Women’s Movement. Some had cut their teeth at ACT-UP rallies and protecting Planned Parenthood against Operation Rescue. Others — many others — were a lot younger: kids the age of my kids, preteens and elementary-school kids, some of whom had attended rallies for Hillary Clinton at the Mann Music Center or Independence Hall just a couple of months ago. They were now gathering in a very different context, newly realizing that lots of us don’t really have equal rights or equal protection under the US Constitution. Lots of the people I saw were in their twenties and thirties, learning the power of direct political action for the first time.
What a contrast today’s mood was to yesterday’s. Yesterday, I dusted off my “I am With Her” button and wore it proudly, but the atmosphere was one of mourning. Today there was joy: women and men, young and old, white and black and brown and all of the above, queer and straight, pussy hatted or not, we celebrated our coming together. There were certainly lots of signs that called out Trump for his misogyny, racism, vanity, and the like. But most championed equality and unity. There’s a strength in numbers, and I think that all of us, experiencing the Philadelphia March for Women and watching and hearing about the gatherings of women and those who support them across the globe, recognized that today. And, as many of the signs suggested, there is a power in the pussy and those who respect it. And that is what is going to get us through this thing. If it doesn’t kill us, it will make us stronger. And as today’s march suggested, we are not going to let it kill us.