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I marched today.

I’d had some trepidation regarding the Women’s March in Washington and a good excuse not to participate.  I’m in St. Croix.

That being the case, with mixed feelings, the idea of joining that historic March was off the table, but not forgotten.   Many dear friends were posting about the March on social media.  They’re not only marching in our Capital but in cities across the nation.  I thought that the only way I could feel connected was to pray and sit in silent solidarity, on this beautiful island miles away from all of them.

And then I saw the poster, tucked away, in the bathroom of a small restaurant on the beach.  I’d not seen it anywhere else.   The universe was beckoning me.  I’m marching.

My husband asks, “Is it okay if I join you?  Or is this just a thing for women?”

“I think that would be great.  It’s about equality and human rights.”  I visit the Women’s March webpage and read to him.

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.

“Okay, I’m in,” he says.

We marched today.

The Women’s March webpage also states that the movement follows the principles of Kingian non-violence.  I’m not familiar with that term, so I Google it.  And find that these principles evolved from Dr. Martin Luther King’s concept of a Beloved Community, a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth.

In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred.

We marched today.  We were a part of the Beloved Community of St. Croix.

Our march today was not against, but for . . .

For our daughters and granddaughters who I pray will someday live in a world where women are respected and treated as equals.  Where women will not be judged on their looks, but on their intellect and capabilities.

As I marched, I couldn’t help but think about . . . .

  • The women and girls around the world who are made to marry as children or trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery.
  • The women who are refused access to education, political participation and prevented from making deeply personal choices in their personal lives.
  • The women trapped in conflict where rape is perpetrated as a weapon of war.
  • Mary, who I met yesterday. She couldn’t come because she had to work.  From her I learned that the United States citizens on St. Croix and other U.S. Territories cannot vote in the Presidential election.  The Territories, not being states, can’t appoint electors to the Electoral College– and therefore US citizens residing there can’t vote in general elections for President.

The March ended on the grounds of D. Hamilton National Park, where Fort Christiansted’s yellow walls rise up from the green grass.  Just a few days prior, we’d visited the fort and I went down into the dungeon, where slaves who’d committed a crime, as simple as slapping a white person, were imprisoned.  All five feet, four and one-half inches of me could not stand up in the dungeon.  I looked at the women around me.  A significant part of the crowd were residents, some of them direct descendants of the slaves brought here to run the sugar plantations.

Now the March is over and my heart is heavy, the jubilance diminished.

Sometimes the most difficult thing is making the decision to act.  This March was easy compared to what my long dead sisters and women all over the world have suffered in the struggle for human rights.

Will I be brave enough to do more?

Can I be like my spirit sister, Susan B. Anthony?

The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball – the further I am rolled, the more I gain.”          – Susan B. Anthony

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