I had the honor and privilege to go to Washington D.C. with a group of six women to participate in the Women’s March on January 21st. The group was comprised of three MSUS members and three additional friends and family members. We all felt strongly compelled to be there and agreed it was an amazing experience. It was peaceful and energizing. For example, as we exited the Metro and ascended the steps, an eruption of cheers flowed through the station and up onto the streets. A DC Metro transit guard who was standing at the exit gates had tears streaming down his cheeks, as he was overcome with emotion.
I’d like to share a couple of personal observations. In my opinion, the common theme of why people were there to march was to support equal rights. I was concerned about the number of stories in the press that called the march an “anti-Trump” protest. There was a contingent representing that perspective, but the underlying sentiment, in my opinion, was equal rights for all.
Some people carried signs for specific causes, including; women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, rights of people with disabilities, support for public education, pro-environment, Black Lives Matter, Equal Pay, and support for immigrants and refugees. One of my favorite signs was a sketch of a polar bear carrying a sign that read “Polar Bears Against Climate Change.” My initial reaction was, how cute, but then immediately was struck with the chilling (no pun intended) reality of the seriousness of the threat of climate change.
Before going, I wanted to be clear about why I was going to the march. While I agreed with many of the specific causes supported by other marchers, I decided I was marching in support of the Unitarian Principles, especially as they serve as guidelines for decision-making at all levels from personal decisions to municipal, state, and federal governmental policy and legislative decisions. My daughter and I wore t-shirts displaying the 7 Unitarian Principles. A number of people came up to us and asked what congregation we were from and told us where they were from. It gave me a sense of solidarity with the Unitarian Universalist movement.
Another underlying current of the march that I came away with was hope that “we the people” can make a difference if we’re willing to invest the time and act to make change.
And finally, I came home with a renewed commitment to the social justice work that the Michael Servetus Unitarian Universalist community has undertaken now and will take on in the future.
Laurie Young, President, MSUS Board of Trustees