Himself, who had no plans of going in the first place, suggested that I go to the rally on the Boston Common if not to the March itself. Still I wouldn't budge. Then he announced that HE was going and I could either come with him or pick him up at the subway station when he returned. So I went.
It was not, as I feared, a violent crowd confronting the NRA supporters. It was energized, but peaceful. There were young children carrying signs which I would probably not have let my children carry, but these kids are facing threats which were rare when my sons were their age. Still I was shaken, clutching his arm, and panicking at not being able to see anything from my towering height of five-feet-nothing and shrinking. Then I saw her, the woman in her mid to late seventies sitting in a wheelchair in the midst of that throng, and I was so ashamed.
The people there had no fear, or if they did they pushed it down. It was a very different feeling from the Women's March the day after the Inauguration of "He Who Shall Not Be Named". It was more focused and a little more frantic. The energy was palpable.
A few days ago I was listening to the news and thought, "Thank God my kids are safely out of high school," and I was horrified when I stopped to realize the actual meaning of that thought. Adults should not be safer than children. That's just wrong.
On Facebook last night I watched the speech given by Emma Gonzalez and I was floored. After her impassioned words came six minutes and twenty uncomfortable seconds. We wondered whether she was overcome by emotion, or suddenly paralyzed by stage fright. But she looked so calm. Supporters in the crowd started chanting and applauding to encourage her, yet there she stood, perfectly still for what seemed like an eternity. The crowd was more silent than I could have imagined any collection of that size being. At the end of the six minutes and twenty seconds she announced that that was the amount of time it took the shooter to kill seventeen people. It seemed like such a horrendously long time, just waiting for her to speak again. I wonder how long it felt to teenagers and teachers who were listening to gunfire and thinking they could be next to die.
My hopes for the future had been flickering for the last year of this despicable administration's display of disdain and disrespect for humanity. Thank you, Emma, and all your friends, and all the people who showed up all over the world to shout "ENOUGH!" Next time I promise I will slay my demons and march with you. And someday I hope to be able to vote for you.