The Lovers & Fighters of America is a weekly column here at Ravishly featuring behind-the-scenes stories of inspirational people taking a stance against hate.
Saturday, January 21, 2017, is a day for the history books. In fact, political scientists, in the process of collecting data, are saying the 2017 Women’s March may very well be the largest day of demonstrations in U.S. history.
Washington Women’s March (WWM) co-founder Evvie Harmon said: “Let’s get out. Let’s roar. Let’s be loud and let’s not go away.” And that is exactly what an estimated 3.3 million people from across the nation did.
Sporting symbolic hats, and holding creatively-worded signs, women, children, and men from all walks of life gathered in more than 500 cities across the United States. And together, they roared; their message (according to march coordinators) was one of equality for all groups — especially women, LGBT folks, people of color, immigrants, and those with disabilities.
Dallas resident Ellie Cook and her two daughters, Olivia, 17, and Brooklyn, 4, flew to Washington to take part in the Women’s March. Ellie’s original intention with the Washington trip had been to take her daughters to celebrate the inauguration of Hillary Clinton. But, as we know, a celebration was not in the cards. That meant Ellie was even more determined to take her girls to the nation's capital. She told Ravishly, “While I had hoped and believed that I would be bringing my daughters to D.C. to celebrate the inauguration of our nation's first woman president, I felt it was even more important to bring them to learn and practice speaking out and making their voices heard in the face of injustices.”
Ellie works in the field of education and is in-tune with the concept that children learn through hands-on experiences. She hopes taking part in the march will positively impact — and inspire — her daughters. She said, “I want them to feel that energy for themselves — what it feels like to be part of the movement. It's something that they need to experience to understand. My hope is that they internalize the feeling of power that comes from belonging to something bigger than you, and then use that power to fuel the injustices they choose to confront as individuals.”
We touched base with Ellie and her girls the week before the march. Brooklyn shared with us that she hoped to send a message to Donald Trump during her time in D.C. She told Ravishly how she feels about Trump. “He has an ugly heart,” she said. But, Brooklyn was hopeful Trump would change his ways once he heard the messages shared by the demonstrators. “I hope he makes brown people feel like they're treated nicely...”
Ellie was clear in her reasons for taking her daughters to march. “If America is truly to become equal for all, it is going to take actions of resistance in the coming years. I guess the Women's March is a lesson for the girls in one way to take action. My hope is that my daughters grow to be comfortable in action and activism, and always feel like their voice deserves to be heard.”
A few days following the march, Ellie and her girls arrived back in Dallas. Still digesting their individual experiences, they got in touch with Ravishly to share their personal reflections about the WWM. When asked to share some of the highlights, Olivia said, “The biggest highlight of the march was most definitely the atmosphere. The massive amounts of people with similar values and beliefs peacefully protesting was inspiring.”
She also had hopes that the large turnout would send a strong message to political representatives. “Celebrities, activists, everyday people, and children all came together to voice opinions on women's rights, the environment, racism, and many other issues all around the world. If that doesn't stand out to political representatives, then I'm not sure what will.”
Brooklyn, too, shared her personal thoughts about the weekend in D.C. “I liked scaring Donald Trump. We get in a big group, and we scared him away by holding signs and telling him about women.” The impact was clearly positive for the 4-year-old Moana fan, who describes the WWM as “the best time of my life.”
Back home in Dallas, Ellie feels good about her decision to march together with her daughters. “I am so glad I went, and that I brought the girls, too. It was a very powerful feeling to be part of the crowd that day, and it felt great to reinforce to the girls that there are so many people who share our values and beliefs, even if the person sitting in the Oval Office at the moment doesn't.”
Ellie, Olivia, and Brooklyn took a stance against hate, alongside their fellow lovers and fighters, in Washington D.C. (and around the world) on January 21, 2017. Who knows, maybe someday one of Ellie’s girls will become America’s first female president! Let’s hope they continue to stand up for equality for all. In the meantime, we are proud to honor them (and all those who peacefully “roared”) as this week’s inspirational Lovers & Fighters in America.
If you know any inspirational Lovers & Fighters whom you’d like to see featured on Ravishly, send a message to Shannon Day, via Facebook.
Lovers & Fighters say "hell no" to racism, sexism, bigotry, and xenophobia. These men, women, and children are saying "heck yes" to equality, human decency, and love. From bold acts of advocacy to simple moments of goodness, these everyday people remind us of what it truly means to be American.
These lovers and fighters are resistant in the face of intolerance. They are bold in the presence of judgment. They are determined to join forces (or to stand proudly alone) to ensure their message is heard: #LoveTrumpsHate.