The one thing that makes me happiest is giving my girls as many new and fun experiences as possible. If you are a reader/follower then you already know they definitely have their fair share of fun experiences. It has taken me a week to write this post in particular because I felt it was important to share our experience and I wanted to find all the right words.
In the past, my opinions on politics has been discussions between me and my husband within the walls of our bedroom. I have kept my personal political views off of my blog, that is changing right now with this post.
I proudly blog as a Latina mom raising two little Latinas in Los Angeles. I have light skin, light eyes and light hair. I am a guera (or white girl) who doesn't speak enough Spanish. I am also a proud Mexican American woman raised in East Los Angeles. Being Mexican is all I have ever known. My girls have beautiful brown skin just like their daddy and in the Summer months, their beautiful brown skin turns an even more beautiful shade of darker brown.
My husband and I didn't want to bring them to the march without discussing it with them first. We asked them what they knew about the new president. This is what my 6 year old said:
His name is Donald Trump. He has said mean things about Mexicans and Women.
I could not disagree.
Those are the two things my 6 and 8 year old little girls had heard about the newest president, and not from us. The next question I asked was, "And what are you?"
They answered, "Mexican".
And what else?
We told them we were going to join many other people in Downtown Los Angeles and walk together alongside them. But why? They asked.
This is what we said, "There are a lot of people here in our city who think it's wrong that our president doesn't treat Women and Mexican's with enough respect. We want to lend our voices so that more people can hear us. Who do you think is louder? One or two people? Or, one or two thousand people?"
As we drove into Downtown LA, a place my girls are pretty familiar with, we started to see families holding signs, walking together and wearing pink hats. This put our minds at ease, this wasn't going to be scary, this was going to be great. We lucked into a great parking spot that led us right into the crowds of people at the start of the march.
I looked at my 8 year old and said, "Look around. All of these people are here for the same reason. They're all here so when you grow up, you are treated equally. That's very important. All of these people support you and by being here, you support all of these people."
I noticed the girls reading the signs that people were carrying. I told them to read them and ask questions if they had any. I did have to divert their eyes from one sign that said something about the president's penis, but other than that, the signs were meaningful.
My daughter grabbed my attention and said, "This sign says, 'Build Bridges not Walls!' what does that mean?"
I asked her, "What do we use bridges for?"
"To help us get from one place to another."
"Yes, and what do walls do?
"They keep you from going places?"
"Exactly, so what do you think is more helpful? Building walls or bridges?"
It really is as simple as that. The feeling of being a part of something so big and powerful and important was something that I will never forget.
Walking through the streets, side by side so many others who's hearts were heavy like mine, who's minds have been overwhelmed with concerns over the future, like mine was empowering. I have never felt so proud to be an American, a woman, a Latina, a Mother, an Angelino and a wife. I've also never been as proud of my husband as I was that day. It was probably the coolest feeling, to look over at my husband while he held our daughter's hand and marched along with purpose. He felt just as strongly as everyone else there, and I love him for that.
When we heard later that day how many people actually came out, we were surprised to hear that we were only a small part of an astounding 750,000 people.
Every single person there had a reason to get up off their ass and brave the traffic that surrounds Los Angeles, make clever and creative signs, and march alongside hundreds of thousands of people. It was so powerful to see everyone's cause written on their sleeves or signs. People were there because they were genuinely afraid of losing their rights as an LGBQT, losing their right to choose what to do with their own bodies, losing their immigrant family members, and losing the respect and rights that women have fought so hard for. Every single person was there for human rights. How can that be a bad thing? So much of the political issues our country is facing is the furthest thing from black and white.
All of the hateful things that the president has said and done to women and minorities in the past frightens me. What frightens me even more, is that people are so eager to turn a blind eye, and forgive and forget. I refuse to pretend that behavior is acceptable from any man, especially the leader of our country. I am not afraid of what I will do if I am ever caught in a an elevator with a hateful misogynist. But I am afraid of my girls encountering the next generation of racist misogynists. Not that I wont raise my girls to defend themselves, but I just don't want them to encounter that kind of hate and judgement at all.
I was surprised that I had to explain to so many why I felt that it was important to not only march in the recent Women's March in Downtown Los Angeles, but to bring my daughters to the Women's March with me. I wont lie, I had my concerns. I wasn't sure what the atmosphere would be like. I didn't know if it was going to be angry or dangerous and I wasn't sure if i wanted my daughters to experience that. I understood that people were not only upset, but angry following the presidential inauguration just the day before. I am glad to report that it was an incredibly memorable experience and I am so proud of my city and proud of my family for being a part of history.