We came to stand in front of the White House and be heard. There were many thousands of us, holding signs funny and heartfelt, waiting to march in the punishing heat. A few people fainted, and the masses assembled responded with a crowd’s singular, cellular competence, creating a human megaphone to call for medics.
The playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner wrote, “I do not believe the wicked always win. I believe our despair is a lie we are telling ourselves. In many other periods of history, people, ordinary citizens, routinely set aside hours, days, time in their lives for doing the work of politics, some of which is glam and revolutionary and some of which is dull and electoral and tedious and not especially pure–and the world changed because of the work they did.” I thought of his words as I talked to asylum seekers and nuns, retired grandparents and young lawyers. These were people who, to me, represented the best of this strange and troubled, beautiful and heartbreaking country I had come to and made my home.
I felt an abiding gratitude to them. Talking to people at the #FamiliesBelongTogether march reminded me in a very tangible way that, despite the administration in the slave-built ivory house behind me, the majority of this country’s people wanted, still wants, a better and kinder future. Here is what some of them had to say to me.