I preach, preach, preach to my clients about the importance of a support system, a tribe, a community. On Saturday in Lancaster, Pa., I felt the power of the tribe of women coming from all experiences, perspectives and backgrounds.
Some men, too. And children. And elders. And babies. And people of every color, both skin and hair. Some in wheelchairs and others standing ably. Some professional musicians, and some singing off key. Some model-pretty people and others average looking. Some loud and boisterous sporting bright pink hats, others primly holding a little modest sign with their fingertips.
We all need to feel connected to a community, and we especially need it now. The fact is that community in all its forms gives us strength and is the best antidote to anxiety and isolation.
Later I heard that the number was millions, not just thousands. I also heard from others questioning “why” we were marching. A few criticized the marchers for advocating murder of unborn children. Some were put off by four-letter language by one or two celebrities. Others believed that patriotism means following the new president. Others questioned if marching was a waste of time – that our words would be dismissed by the elites in power.
I can’t speak for the thousands of other people who marched on every continent on our planet – yes, even Antarctica! – but I can tell you why I marched.
- I marched for integrity, truthfulness, respect, civility and ethics as important values.
- I marched for affordable health care for men and women, children and babies, regardless of their level of health, including pre-existing conditions.
- I marched for the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.
- I marched for the rights of colleagues, friends, clients, acquaintances and others who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning or asexual to partner with whom they wish, or not at all.
- I marched as the granddaughter of immigrants, who came to the United States to create a prosperous future for their children and grandchildren, worked hard and never learned to speak English.
- I marched for our planet, which is both delicate and strong and is already succumbing to the abusive actions of thoughtlessness and greed.
- I marched for clean water that is safe to drink and use.
- I marched for my right to practice my religion as I wish and to not follow the rules of another’s religion, no matter how important that person's religion is for him or her.
- I marched for the right of women to make decisions for themselves about how many children they wish to have, if any, and to have as many children as they wish.
- I marched for women who have or will bring new life into the world and their right to have good health care.
- I marched for inclusion and tolerance of those who are “different.”
- I marched for the right to disagree with respect.
- I marched because Black Lives Matter.
- I marched for the indigenous peoples whose lands have been stolen and whose sacred traditions have been dismissed or devalued..
- I marched because I believe that people who are millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share of taxes.
- I marched for the disabled who are often mocked, pitied or forgotten by society.
- I marched to speak up for peace when war, destruction, guns and torture are considered the usual ways of solving problems.
- I marched for the right of unions to organize, meet and air their grievances.
- I marched because sexual assault, in whatever its forms, is never OK.
- I marched for Christians who believe in "love thy neighbor" and those who are not Christians.
- I marched for those who have no voice.
And it was so good to march together with my tribe, who are different from me and very much part of my tribe despite our differences. And If I become transformed and feel uplifted and inspired, how might others change for the good? That is the true nature of community.