Though I am not so very old, I’ve already witnessed several events that I knew would later become the pages of a history book: the horrors of September 11th 2001; Hurricane Katrina’s devastating effects on New Orleans in 2005, the monumental election of the US’s first (only?) black president in 2008, that awful day when Russia invaded Ukraine and took Crimea in 2013.
Now, in 2017, here I am again, knowing that the daily life I’m experiencing is again the stuff that will one day fill our history books. One difference though, is that this time, I seem to be living in the middle of it.
My daily life right is disrupted. It’s disrupted by frustration at work: President Trump’s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule means that the development work I do (the provision of contraceptives, of anti-malarial nets, of TB medication, HIV rapid diagnostic tests) will be less effective, less wide-sweeping, less funded, less secure. Because of the indirect ramifications of the Global Gag Rule, more women will undergo unsafe abortions, more young people will become infected with HIV, more children under age 5 will die of malaria.
My daily life right now is disrupted. I’m disrupted on my commutes around town: Protesters have filled the street every day since Mr. Trumps election. They’ve blocked streets and shut down major traffic arteries. I have to slow down on my normal jogging route to let marchers and their police escorts pass pay.
My daily life right now is disrupted. I’m disrupted every time I log in to social media. News, announcements, and photos of protests fill my facebook wall, my events list, and my instagram feed. Photos of rallies attended, of posters being made, and of pledges taken fill the four corners of my computer screen.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I have never felt so surrounded by history. I’ve never felt so in the middle of global events. I have never felt so many things at once. Being in the middle of Washington DC during these few weeks has been quite a ride. Receiving White House announcements on my phone devastates me daily. Hearing protest cries as I pass by the actual White House fills me with pride and with hope. Watching friends (who are already over-booked and over-committed) head off to rallies on the daily, seeing coworkers unite to figure out how to react to this this new reality, and having real conversations about what it means that a lot of white America finally got woke, has filled me with incredible hope in the face of devastating fear.
People around me right now are motivated. We’re challenging each other to do more. We’re showing up and speaking truth to power. We’re contacting our elected representatives. We’re planning the next march. We’re figuring out what it means to resist and resist and resist.
A friend challenged me to figure out and share what I personally will commit to doing in the effort to fight against this racist, fascist reality we seem to be heading in to. I haven’t totally figured it out yet. For the moment though, I’m just sharing my thoughts, my fears, and my very great hope that world is hearing our shouts, realizing that THIS IS NOT NORMAL and we’re not okay with it. I’m sharing my hope that you, and I, and all of us together can make sure that the history books tell how we stood up and did something, how we did not sit back and let terror and evil rule the world without a fabulous fucking fight.