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Even before the Women’s March on Washington had grown to include every U.S. state, more than 700 cities, and every continent, I knew I had to be there. For me, it was a pilgrimage. It was being a part of history.

On my first flight, I passed a couple wearing Make America Great Again merch, and I had a moment of fear; but I looked them in the eyes and kept walking past them in my Planned Parenthood sweatshirt. At the metro station in D.C., there was already a line to get into the station two hours before the start of the rally. I overheard a father explain the word “patriarchy” to his two young sons and passengers asking each other where they’d come from to attend the march. At the Judiciary Square Metro Station, as each new train pulledup, protesters cheered and greeted the new arrivals. The energy was electric and full of hope.

As soon as I stepped out of the metro, I was surrounded by women in pink, women with signs, and most hearteningly, young women, sometimes with their mothers, and sometimes in their own girl gangs, taking to the streets and being heard. What was supposed to be a gathering of 200,000 was clearly more—the march route had to be changed because the crowd had already filled up the entire route just by gathering and standing—it was signs and pink hats as far as I could see.

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