My Women’s March

by Courtney Lennberg

“Bail me out if I get arrested, please.” I jested as I grabbed my coat and keys. My husband laughed at my sarcasm, but there was a grain of sincerity cloaked in the satire. I had never been to a political rally of any kind, and this one, the Boise Women’s March, was certainly one way to go in with a bang.

I picked up my neighbor—a German expat who lived among a landscape and history that stood as a witness to the dangers of demagoguery and nationalism, and her friend—an American woman I’d never met. While we waited on a barista to conjure up their coffee and my herbal tea (mint to be precise), we wondered aloud what we were getting ourselves into. Giant snowflakes fell in deafening silence, weather anything but ideal for an outside march and rally.

The silence shattered as we worked our way to the steps of the State Capitol building in Boise, Idaho. We, who would dare to say “no, not on my watch” to the rhetoric of a divisive leader had suffered vitriol for days, weeks, and months before this moment. “Opponents call us ‘snowflakes’,” my friend said as we scanned the impressive crowd in a state that voted solidly in favor of the newly-inaugurated President of the United States of America. I chuckled, having been called one myself by people I thought to be friends. Many snowflakes, together with any disruptive force applied, can create an avalanche. “Fitting,” I thought. We were in almost white-out conditions, as gentle and huuuuuuge snowflakes continued to fall. This time, their silent landings were drowned out by the fervor and camaraderie of 5000-plus people, united solidly against the idea that we would sit down and let democracy die through apathy.

To be sure, there were a handful of snarky signs. But overwhelmingly, the messages both on paper and from mouths were of hope, of love, of liberty and justice for all. Of solidarity in standing together in defense of our Constitutionally-granted rights. The march kicked off with a prayer from an indigenous community-leader, who prayed in thanks to the Creator for the earth we share, and asked a blessing of protection over it and over all of those living upon it. “Who could object to this?” I wondered. I was stirred by the veracity of her pleading.

At the rally, we heard from several speakers, but none with vulgar or profane statements. The reports out of other marches did not match the tone or messages where I marched. I held a sign I crafted which I hoped would be a reminder to myself, and a reminder to all others of one simple truth. It  read: “If your words are unkind, they’re not “the best words.” It is now taped to the glass door of my home office—a rallying cry for me and my family as we tread into these tenuous times.

It was an inspiring morning. I left that gathering, freezing and soaked through but fiery inside, resolved to seek out like-minded resisters who would, indeed, go high when others go low.

Children fell ill, and I was not in my Relief Society lesson the next day. A member of my presidency shared that she was grateful I had not been there to hear how demeaning and vilifying other sisters had been towards any woman who chose to attend the March. To say I was disappointed by this report is an understatement. What I felt was misunderstood, maligned, and ostracized. Nevertheless, I persisted.

Later that week my sister messaged me to say she had added me to a Facebook group where she felt I could find support instead of condemnation. The date was January 27th, 2017 and the group had been dubbed “Mormon Women for Political Action”.

It has been a month, and as fingers fly across keyboards and phones are wielded as we take seriously the call to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause”, I marvel at what happens when we each choose to let our discipleship and study of Christ be our clarion call to stand for truth and righteousness.

I marched in the Women’s March. I did so with a full heart to share this message boldly, unapologetically and unequivocally: I am a daughter of Heavenly Parents and as such, it is my responsibility to stand for truth and righteousness at all times, in all things, and in all places.