Lizette is a very special young woman. When she was a sophomore in high school, she approached me about starting an after-school group for young feminists. She needed a sponsor for the group, and I agreed. Even though she graduated in 2014, our group still meets, and we are growing every year. Needless to say, I was thrilled to share such a momentous occasion with a favorite young activist. We were even able to bring signs created by current members of the group, which allowed them to be involved and created a powerful connection between the generations of feminist activists in our school.
The overnight bus rides there and back were brutal to say the least, but it was hard not to feel that we were part of a truly historical moment. Even though the cell towers were overloaded and we didn’t have the ability to check social media, we could tell that there were a lot more people there than anyone expected, and we could feel that energy. As Lizette noted: “Someday, I will be teaching a history lesson and this will come up in class and I’ll be able to say, ‘I was there!’”
While the positive energy was palpable, so was the white privilege. There were a lot of straight, white, cis, able-bodied women there who seemed to feel entitled to something just because they showed up, because someone had called them a hero for doing so, and you could see that entitlement oozing from them as they not-so-subtly elbowed their way through the tightly-packed crowds just so they could get a little bit closer, or as they loudly asked questions in response to speakers’ points such as, “How are we standing on Native Americans’ land? This is Washington D.C.!”