Feeling powerless sucks.
That’s how I felt in the wake of the election. Helpless, impotent, victimized. Cast aside and silenced.
With news of the Women’s March on Washington, the fog began to lift. There was something I could do—yank off the muzzle and kick some ass.
A cross-country flight and January in D.C. was a small price to pay to regain some agency. But then, an idea popped into my head that, like most good ideas, came with an enlivening rush of energy.
Wasn’t there a better use of my time and resources? Why not raise money to send young women—the ones with hope and optimism—to march in my stead?
Riding a wave of warm inspiration, I opened an account at gofundme.com, set a goal of $5,000 and began posting to Facebook. Action felt good and within the hour, donations began rolling in. Asking for money was new for me and easier than I would have thought. It was, after all, not for me. It was for good. And people—even strangers—gave.
For three weeks my inbox was like Christmas morning. The house was full of chimes as my cell phone announced another donation.
As President-elect Trump tweeted about the size of his—ahem—electoral win and chose Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, as his Secretary of State, I took refuge in writing thank you notes to donors.
In three weeks, I raised $5,515.
That Christmas, sitting on the blue couch in Florida—in the very spot where my mother used to read The New York Times in her red and white gingham bathrobe—I transferred money via Paypal to our six young marchers. Two women from UC Santa Cruz received $1,000 each; four students from Michigan State got $750.
They texted back with great bellows of gratitude and delight, outshining any shadow cast by Mr. Trump and his Republican friends.
On January 21st, as Judit and I curled up in our living room and watched Angela Davis, Cecile Richards and Van Jones speak to a crowd of 500,000, I cried. Our six marchers were among them. I had made it happen. I had taken action and the world had changed. Not a lot, but enough.
* * * *
Thank you funders. Thank you marchers.
Creating the gofundme campaign put me into action and made me feel better.
Upon receiving their grant, one of the fundees wrote:
Thank you doesn’t adequately express my gratitude for the opportunity which you and all of the contributors have awarded me…I promise to speak as loud as I can in our country’s capitol, for and on behalf of all women from all walks of life.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
To the funders: Please know that your donations were greeted with great whoops of glee and, more importantly, taught me how powerful we each can be. Thank you for your support of me and Judit, for your generosity and for the good work you do in the world. I know who you are and know what you do.
To the marchers: Thank you for picking up the torch and carrying it through that grey January day. My wish for you is that you know your power, that you wield it with love and compassion. Take what you experienced in DC and allow its message to light your way into the future.
Together, we will fight—and love—on.