I took the kid up to the Hill on Saturday to experience the Women’s March. I had wanted to go last year but I was sick or something and didn’t make it. I knew it wouldn’t be exactly the same this year, not being the first of the movement, but I also knew I wanted her to see women in action. I have started explaining to her the bits and pieces of women’s history, Canadian history, the history of abuse and unfairness, that she’ll have to learn.
We read about great women and she hears that they weren’t allowed to go to university to study because they were women, she hears that they had credit for their work taken from them by men, she hears that they had to flee their country because they were Jewish. She’s learned about residential schools and the things that people who look like us did, that people who look like us have done a lot of bad things. That we need to listen to all the people who look different.
As we marched I told her that there are truths I will have to tell her as she gets older. That I don’t want to, but that she needs to know. I know white parents have the privilege of not teaching their children certain injustices until their older – we try to save their innocence while other parents have to answer questions about why they can’t trust every police officer or why the president hates them.
I know that the best thing for her is to teach her hard and empathy. I want her to be the best she can offer the world.
As we marched I also thought about my friend Laurie.
I met Laurie on Twitter, and then we met in person. We had shared connections, we lived in the same city. We added each other on Facebook and she introduced me to her reading group. She was a knitter. We had fandoms in common.
Laurie was the kind of person I want to be when I grow up. She was kind and caring, goofy and classy, she was welcoming. A friend. She did the things she loved and she shared her love of things with the world. Laurie was passionate and spoke up for herself and for women. Above all, she loved her family and her dog.
Laurie would have been at that march. She would have knitted herself a hat to wear – probably not pink – and thrown on a red scarf. I would have loved to see her in person again. But now Laurie is alive only in the thoughts of those of us who loved her and thought she was pretty great.
And so I thought of her and I marched, and I thought about ways I can be like Laurie and I can move forward and make the world a better place for having been here.