why I march... with my 8-year-old.

When the Women's March on Washington was first announced, I knew I wanted to go. I called my mother first, whose birthday is Inauguration Day (sad! No, but like REALLY SAD) and proposed we go together. My sister was soon on board, and then I sat down with my oldest kids, Archer (11) and Fable (8), and asked if either of them wanted to attend. I explained to them what the Women's march on Washington was about, what it represented and why it was important to me. Archer was wholly supportive that we were all going but felt that it wasn't for him...  Fable was adamant and wholly certain that she wanted to go. 

OF COURSE she wanted to go. 

"I HAVE TO GO," she said....

On January 21st, in Washington DC, the four of us will march for the autonomy, freedom and equality of women. We will march in solidarity with survivors, in resistance to rape culture as well as misogyny, homophobia, racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, white supremacy and toxic masculinity. We will march as an act of resistance to an incoming administration that threatens the freedoms and livelihood of marginalized communities, and undermines female worth while simultaneously politicizing our bodies. We will march as an example to each other and ourselves that saying NO to what we disagree with is often the only way to say YES to WHO WE ARE. We will march because we BELIEVE in the power of women and girls -- that together we can and will rise. We will march because we LOVE our country fiercely and disagree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with everything the president-elect and his administration represents. We will march as grandmothers, and mothers, sisters and daughters who motivate each other to be brave, outspoken and unwavering in our dissent. We will march with LOVE and FIGHT, and FEMININITY, arms linked, indivisible and with great hope for a future that TRULY MEANS liberty and justice for all. - @rachelwoolf (28) @wendywoolf1 (60) @girlsgonechild (35) and Fable (age 8) #whywemarch #whyimarch #threegenerations #notmypresident #stillwithher #resist #normalizedissent #womensmarch #imarchfor @womensmarch
A photo posted by Rebecca Woolf (@girlsgonechild) on

...I have received understandable criticism from friends and family about bringing a child  to a march -- specifically the one in Washington DC.  I imagine that criticism will continue as it did when we marched in LA's Pride Parade last year, hours after the horrific shooting at Pulse in Florida, and though many people warned against our marching, worried for our safety (most notably the safety of our children), we went anyway--for many reasons, one of them being that Hal and I felt that SHOWING UP was even more important than ever. As a family of non-marginalized privileged people, we felt that of all times to show up, THIS WAS IT...

...There have been several articles written about marching with children that are fantastic resources for those considering taking their kid(s) and you can find them here and here. There is also a Women's March youth initiative, which you can read about/sign up for notifications, here. 

In the meantime... I am overwhelmed with gratitude to feel such solidarity with the women in my life. I am grateful for all the amazing people who will be marching locally, nationally and ALL OVER THE WORLD. I am grateful for our ability to stand strong together. I am grateful that my daughter will be able to look back on this moment and say, "YES, I WAS THERE." 

"With my mother...

"And my grandmother.

And my aunt. 

And thousands (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of others..."

And she will know, in case it isn't already clear, that just as her age didn't stop her from wanting to participate, it also didn't stop me from including her. And she will know that my need to protect her will never come before my desire to support her. To empower her. To allow her to make her own decisions when it comes to her heart, her body, her FIGHT. 

And she will KNOW that no matter how dangerous the world may seem, that STANDING UP and SPEAKING OUT and UNITING WITH OTHERS in support of HUMAN DECENCY, EQUALITY AND LOVE will ALWAYS BE the right call. 

She will know that NO ONE is too young, too girl, to get out there and resist what feels WRONG with what feels RIGHT.  

I was cleaning out the backseat of my car, grabbing errant paper, dried out markers, balling up discarded pages that I assumed were discardable... I was cleaning so fast I didn't notice the crumpled page covered in stars. I shoved the "trash" in a plastic bag and just as I was closing the bin, caught eye of the words, "...hands girl." I retrieved the trash bag, opened the crumpled paper and there, staring back at me was a little girl holding the world, surrounded by stars. I burst into tears. How could I have crumpled up such a treasure? How was I *this* close to throwing it away!? When I asked Fable about the picture, she explained that she made it last week, while we were driving to my parents house for thanksgiving. "I made it for us as a reminder... I made it for all the girls." "I love it so much," I told her. "And I'm so sorry I almost threw it away." "Yeah, but mama," she smiled, "you didn't... See? You can still read the words. You can still see all the stars..." She was right, of course. The paper was crumpled but the words didn't change. The girl was still holding the world. Fable and I flattened the paper with our hands and taped it on the back of our front door. Because crumpled or not, we can still read the words. We can still see all the stars.
A photo posted by Rebecca Woolf (@girlsgonechild) on

She will know that her steps matter. That we cannot push the needle forward by standing still. That we have to push. We have to strain. We have to march. Not just on the 21st but CONSISTENTLY. We must march hand in hand, with clear eyes and open ears, fearless, hopeful, strong. We must march for a future that ensures everyone is given equal chance to find their power. 

And she will know that she's a part of that. She's part of THIS. She's part of EVERYTHING. 

We all are. 

You can read my post in its entirety on Mom.me, here


ED: when I picked Fable up from school today, I found this hanging in the hallway outsider her classroom: 
Not that I ever had doubts about bringing her, but whoa, am I glad she's coming. Fight forward, friends. March safe and big love to all