“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…..whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…” -Declaration of Independence, 1776
Recently, for many Americans, a wave of overwhelming helplessness and hopelessness has shaken our most basic notions of morality and human decency. Progress on social equality, human rights, the environment and the like seem to have been set back 40 years almost overnight. Surely this isn’t the will of the people. If you thought the same – you’d be right.
On January 21st, millions of everyday citizens across the United States and around the world marched in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. We marched for the women in our lives, but we also marched to express our resilience and determination. We marched in protest of circumstances that we will refuse to accept. We marched against hateful ideologies and we marched for love.
In Philadelphia, I shared an unforgettable experience with an extended family of over 50,000. I saw laughter and joy in the faces of strangers who have every reason to be as worried for their future in this country as I am. I saw hope in the faces of two young girls marching along side me shouting, “love trumps hate!” with all the energy that their 4-year-old lungs could muster. I was moved to tears as I absorbed just how powerful this movement was.
As Aziz Ansari put it during his SNL opener, “…change doesn’t come from Presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if day one is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen.”
The Women’s March may be over, but there will be no shortage of protests and uphill battles to be won over the next four years. Most importantly, in a time where hate and alternative facts are the norm (see Kellyane Conway), we must remember to love. At every opportunity, choose to love.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.