i: The Women’s March in Washington DC, 21 January 2017. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
by: Sarah Stankorb
Sarah Stankorb is a city council member for Wyoming, Ohio
On 20 January last year, I cried. I vaguely remember shouting at the Obamas on TV to go right back to the White House. I was a mess of frustration and anxiety. I was one of millions.
It was an inauspicious start to a new year – one that changed me, changed many of us.
On an impulse, I volunteered to be bus captain for the second bus leaving Cincinnati for the Women’s March in Washington. That weekend, at the rally preceding the march, I could hear but not see Gloria Steinem over the crowd. On tiptoe, I could see pink hats in all directions, a sea of women pressing together; the crowd contracted tighter.
Eventually, the rally segued to march. The crowd spilled forth on to sidewalks and roads. I began to breathe, full, deep breaths. Women around me began singing: “We will not go away. Welcome to your first day.”
It was a strange birth in strange times.
The women around me were going to change our country. They would run for office.
It became a year with more social gatherings than I’d ever known. I heard about a woman at a local nursing home who formed an Indivisible group – the group’s average age was 86. One local resident organized dozens of us to make hundreds of valentines to deliver to Congressman Brad Wenstrup to assert our priorities: “I love clean air and water!” “I love affordable healthcare.”