Participating in the Women’s March as a Family
We couldn’t participate in the Women’s March on Washington this year, so we joined our local march in Asheville instead. Our BKs (big kids) are 10, 11, and 14. We have conversations with them pretty regularly on issues that come up in the news and that may have come up at school. The women’s march was an event we were all familiar with and something we felt was a good catalyst for lessons of hope, peace, and love–or just laying the groundwork for future issues that they may not know how to navigate through. I also wanted to share our experience in case you were curious as to how it all goes down.
Preparing with creativity
Thinking of signs to bring to the protest was a fun way to collaborate together and for my kids to teach me their ideas on why they wanted to hold a particular sign. My teenage son came up with a really cool sign that weaved a popular song and how he felt about our president. My younger girls took the more general approach to making signs that had to do with respect for their bodies, peace in general, and overall message of love for all. We had a ton of cardboard from our move and so making the signs was an easy task as far as materials. I was really impressed by how they were so into this–James worked on t-shirt decals and I finished knitting my pink hats for the Pussyhat Project.
Once we got there, a rally was in full effect. There was some confusion on where to meet for the march. I saw a whole line of parents with strollers and kids and decided these were our people and waited along them. As we waited, our 2-year-old went through 3 snacks and was getting antsy. My BKs were on the corner holding their signs up and a few people thanked them for being present. We finally saw a crowd move across the street so we crossed the street and found a pocket to fit our group into. James had to step out once to get a treat for Poppy at the nearby chocolate shop to avoid a meltdown until we left.
After 3 hours rallying and marching for a few blocks, and an impromptu street dance party, we decided to head back home so Poppy and the kids could get some rest. It started to rain on the way home. While we didn’t march the whole way, we think that just being there was important for us a family to spend time together. Being among other families and people in support of women’s rights and so much more was truly a unique and special experience. There were a ton of kids out which made me proud that our kids willingly wanted to be here as well. There was no violence (at least that we saw or heard of) and the vibes were so positive and uplifting. We had fun and I could tell the kids felt a bit more empowered. There are a few notes I’d like to mention:
- Have a surplus of snacks and treats–having more than enough is always better. Save a special treat for occasions like this when you can surprise your little one.
- Don’t bring a lot of stuff–we packed pretty light and this helped with the long periods of standing and walking.
- Timing issues–the pre-rally went on longer than I expected. Next time we will get there earlier.
- Use a backpack carrier instead of a stroller–maneuvering in and out of crowds with a stroller is a pain and with a backpack you’d be hands free even if they decide to jump out for a bit.
- Pace–if the march is going faster than you thought and you can’t keep up, simply step to the side and stay toward the back. We made sure to slow down as needed.
- Be aware of trash from food you eat. Just like hiking, pack out what you pack in. Rallies and marches can accumulate a lot of trash and you can easily forget in the midst of marching.
- Make sure you’re hydrated and keep snacks for yourself. I’m useless and cranky without fuel.
- Wear comfortable clothing and dress for the outdoors–you’ll be standing and walking for long periods of time and the weather can change.
No matter what side of an issue we support we live in a participatory democracy–just as it’s important to vote we felt the same about teaching our kids about how our government works in an active setting such as the women’s march. We encourage doing research on which events/issues you’re interested in participating with kids and we support you! Have you ever participated in a march or protest with your family? If so what did you take away from the experience as a family or what would you change? If you haven’t, what are your reservations? I’d love to hear your thoughts either way, so please share them in the comments below.