On January 21, Dr. Kendra Anderson a resident in the Obstetrics & Gyneocology department at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida, joined an estimated 3 million people in the Women’s March in Washington D.C. She reflects on her experience below:
Love. Diversity. Access to quality healthcare. Climate Change. Education. Abortion Rights LGBTQIA rights. Immigration Policy. Plain human decency. The number of issues that drew the greater than 3 million people out on January 21 to the Women’s March seemed endless. I had no idea what I was getting into, the kind of historic event in which I was going to participate. And I never could have predicted the impact it would have on me.
As a Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Black female raised in a Jamaican household, I had many a reason to feel excluded from mainstream culture. And when I left the comfort of my childhood home and graduated from the SDA education system, I did. I learned that people did not know what the Sabbath was; that people only noticed a change in my hair if it was straightened from its natural state; that people assume I could only be the nurse and not the doctor; and that ackee and saltfish is still a gem of a dish mostly only Jamaicans know about. But I never once felt ostracized or threatened to be who I am. Until now.
Hearing the waves of chants pick up speed from thousands of feet away – “If you’re going to repeal, you must replace”, “My body, my choice”, “Black Lives Matter” – affirmed the stand in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of people whose faces I never even saw. It was powerful. A unified front spurred by division. We all stood there, unable to move for over four hours (and minimal movement for the other four) in 40 degree weather because it was just that important. Important to highlight that feminism can mean women should have the power to choose to stay at home or be the next CEO. Important to acknowledge the dissonance of forcing non-American born residents out of a country built on the backs of immigrants. Important to not confuse religious liberty with radicalism. Important to not strip people of access to basic health care needs without a plan.
Do I care that the global Women’s March had three times more attendees than the president’s inauguration? I really don’t. But I appreciate that the march revealed to me the multiple untold stories of our country that need to be known and respected. And I now know we have the manpower to surmount the divide. My faith in our people has been restored, and I value now more than ever our diversified unity.