Signs, Sounds, & Thoughts From My Experience At The Women’s March in Washington D.C.

One Man’s Story: Why I Marched With Women on Trump’s First Day
By: Dan Beckmann/Orlando Sentinel
25 January 2017 

Last week, rather excitedly, I posted, what I thought was a fairly innocuous tweet; “Heading to D.C. for the March!”  I wrote.  So, I was surprised to read the first response.  Not because it arrived so quickly, I have nearly 10,000 followers.  Rather, because it came from a friend with an ambiguous quip. “Last I checked you were a man…is there something you’re not telling me?”  She wrote.  Surely my well-educated friend could not be so confused to think a Y chromosome would be a disqualification for taking part in a Women’s March?  Nonetheless, there it was.  That comment…hanging like a piñata, just waiting for me to crack it with a great big stick.

So, to my friend who wrote, what I’m sure she thought was a comment in jest, I guess there are some things I haven’t thought to tell you.  Allow me to fill you in on a few of them.

For 15-years, as a cameraman, writer, and producer with NBC News, I sat on the front line of many struggles.  This was the first time I would be at the epicenter of something of this magnitude as a participant.  I knew why I was marching because I had the checked boxes all filled out in my head; women’s rights, minority issues, climate change, education.  All the big ones.  But it wasn’t until I was nestled amongst a sea of pink hats and humanity that I realized why I was really there.  By the way, there were quite a few disqualified Y chromosome people marching with me.

Women, and those with minority voices, have always played crucial roles in my success.  They are too often underrepresented, undermined, and undervalued.  So, from what some might call my “privileged” seat in society, I felt it was even more important for me to walk out my allegiance to them.

I marched because Donald Trump promised to serve all people.  And so far, his immediate circle of influence lacks the diversity to make that possible.  Having him hear our voices from his new home on his first day in office was a great start. Not everyone who needed to be heard could be there, so I was marching for them…and for all the people who’ve made a difference in my life.

I marched for my mom, who as a single parent took odd jobs teaching tennis lessons, tending bar, and fixing lawnmowers.  Always making less than the guy next to her who did the exact same job.  My mom never failed to take a college course and never got a failing grade.  Receiving her doctorate 35 years after taking her first class.

I marched for, and alongside, my friends Kent and Caanan.  Showing up with my support to protect their right to stay married.

I marched for my daughter Lauren, and my friend Tiffany.  Each survivors of sexual assault who now must watch a man who’s bragged about assaulting women lead our country for the next four years.

I marched for those so confused that they now believe in “alternative facts.”

I marched for my friends who lost all hope, and got suckered by a manipulative liar who placed a large bet on their fears and won bigly.

I marched as a reminder to those “who won” that they cannot ignore those who didn’t.  And I marched as a reminder to our representatives in Washington that they are bound by an oath to represent all those in their districts.

I marched to promote a global community of diverse members. The outcry of values and priorities aren’t solely “American issues” with isolated consequences.  Millions of others, on all 7 continents, took part in over 670 solidarity events. Our leader may say, “America First”, but we cannot claim to be “America Only”.

And I marched for that friend of mine, the Twitter commenter.  Apparently, there were some things I didn’t tell you.  I’m glad I told you about them now so we can put down our phones and get to the business of building a brighter future for us all.  And that’s something worth tweeting and re-tweeting about.

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The Hurricane, The Homeless and Humanity

From Florida to New England, Hurricane Sandy chugged and skirted along the eastern seaboard; leaving toppled trees, dozens of deaths and millions without power in her wake.        

It was, no doubt, a terrifying experience for those who’ve never been in the path of a storm this size.  For the seasoned “veteran” it was probably exciting.  But for the homeless, Sandy’s punishing winds and stinging rain, made a difficult life even more strenuous.

As half-a-million New Yorkers were ordered to evacuate, the New York City Department of Homeless Services re-located nine shelters, displacing many of the 47,000 homeless.  Nearly half of which, are children.  And just to the south, in our nations capital, the problem isn’t any better.  According to the Washington Post, Capital Area Food BankBread for the City, and Martha’s Table, all organizations that help feed the homeless in DC, are now closed because of the storm.

Men’s only!  Women’s only!  No pets!  Separated families and too few beds, are problems homeless shelters face on a daily basis.  And while it is normal for shelters to deal with floods of people who live on the street, the floods from this storm forced homeowners to join the ranks of the homeless.  A new problem that has turned already crowded shelters into over-capacity refuges.  For a while, it seems, all those currently living under the shelters’ roofs are indistinguishably equal.        

It is during times like these, however, where people really come together.  The media’s stories of survival, rescues and goodwill gestures will flood the airwaves soon.  Far outweighing the tales of the opportunists who looted or price gouged in the aftermath.  Utility crews from New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma are already on site helping restore power to the nearly 7 million people left without.  For those temporarily experiencing what life is like for the homeless, I hope you find your homes still standing when the winds and rains die down.  And for those less fortunate, for those who had no home before the storm, I hope some of those stories of goodwill will find their way to you.  You certainly deserve it.       

 

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