On Saturday, January 21, I gathered with others from the St. Stephen’s community to head to Austin for the Women’s March on the Capitol. There we joined thousands of other marchers who’d gathered there with the same intention. I decided to march because I believe it is important to raise my voice whenever things aren’t as they should and could be. The willingness to raise a voice against injustice serves as an important act--it puts those seeking to set unjust policies and laws into place and those seeking to ignore the existence and needs of all, on notice that we are watching and will fight to block every unjust move. Raising my voice by way of marching also lets those around me know I stand with them, it is an act of solidarity that says I will not sit by and silently watch as injustice happens.  Some people might not be able to vocally and public stand with others, but I can and so I do. I also marched because I believe it’s important for people of faith to speak out in the public square, to stand up for the dignity of every human being, both in prayer and with our presence.

The energy at the march remained high throughout the day. Seeing the large crowd made me a bit emotional, so many people pouring onto the lawn of the Capitol. All kinds of people were marching, including families with young children, older adults, and people in wheelchairs. Signs bearing all kinds of issues and demands were everywhere. At the time I thought the diversity of the marchers and the issues they chose to lift up was important. Single issue marches and protests are important, but it is just as important to demonstrate to ourselves and to others that we can come together in unity to promote the freedom and rights of all. Attending the march in Austin, and later seeing the pictures, videos, and projected attendance numbers of the other marches, reminded me that we are not alone. More than that however, it was nice to march with folks from St. Stephen’s--to wave our signs together, to chant together, march together behind our shared banner.  The march will stay with me for a long time as a reminder that resistance is a communal activity and our community is vast and deep.

Following the Women’s March in Austin, Anjel Johnson of Planned Parenthood will be with us to discuss next steps on women’s health and reproductive rights. Join us Monday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. in the Library.

- Ryan Hawthorne | Youth Missioner & Director of da Vinci Lab of Creative Arts and Sciences