ok ladies now that we're in formation.

I write this with a full, broken heart and puffy eyes.  I'm devastated, heartbroken, beaten down, distraught.  But I'm also elated, empowered, proud, bewildered, excited, anxious, happy, filled with love.  Yesterday was the most powerful day I've witnessed in my 30 years on this wonderful planet.  I know 30 years isn't that long, and that I've missed a lot of hard times, but what we're entering into now is a beautiful new era of empowerment, and I'm so proud to be a part of it.

The marches that took place yesterday were a show of strength, solidarity, freedom, vigilance, power and love.  Although called the "Women's March", they brought together not just women, but men, the LGBTQ community, people of color, politicians, celebrities, children - just about every marginalized group in society, and even those that aren't.  I wasn't able to participate in the US, and I'm still a little bit upset about that (work calls, folks).  But I was able to  participate in Paris, and in a way, that feels even more empowering.  I honestly did not know what to expect here.  I thought maybe it would draw a small crowd of ex-pats, perhaps a few French that felt extra passionate.  But the outpouring of love and support from not just Americans in France, but of the French, Italians, British, German, Indonesian, North African, Middle Eastern, and the list goes on....it was incredible.  I heard nearly every dialect spoken, signs written in every language.  We weren't French or American yesterday, we were one. In a city that I, to be honest, think deals with more misogyny and discrimination than we do in the states, looking back I shouldn't be surprised by the numbers of people that came out yesterday. But I was, and in the best way.  I've spent a lot of time here in Paris, and as much as it feels like a second home, it is also very foreign. But yesterday it wasn't.  Yesterday it was even more beautiful than I could have imagined.  Walking through the gorgeous Haussmannian streets of this city, ending at the Eiffel Tower (which I could never get sick of seeing), the beauty of the architecture, streets, city was amplified by the beautiful people that all came together, for at least a moment.  

Although many of the signs I saw yesterday were anti-Trump or showing solidarity with the United States, the march also felt very personal for the French.  As they are in a difficult election year, with Marine Le Pen in the running again (look her up if you're not familiar), this also felt as a statement of rebellion against their own government, a statement that said "hatred will not win here too", a statement that said "we see you Brexit, Trump, we see you and we will not do the same". I hope this statement comes true.

I also hope, more than anything, that the positivity I saw yesterday continues and grows.  I hope that we do not retreat back to our homes, never to be heard from again.  As I told a colleague today, this Women's March should have happened regardless.  Trump was the catalyst, but this is a statement that has needed to happen, not just for women, but for everyone.  We need to show that we cannot be divided, that we are, contrary to what some people think, actually united.  We need to show that this discrimination and rhetoric of hatred and violence stops now.  We will not take it anymore, and we will not be silent.  In the words of the beautiful Gloria Steinem from the march in DC yesterday:

"We are linked, we are not ranked, and this is a day that will change us forever because we are together, each of us individually and collectively will never be the same again. When we elect a possible president we too often go home. We've elected an impossible president.  We're never going home. We're staying together, and we're taking over"


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Jennifer Cook