Going high when they go low – an account of the Women’s March in DC

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Breaking Barriers

Like many, a sense of foreboding and gloominess swept over me on election night as a new president was announced. Happily sheltered in my New England bubble, I was heartbroken.

Unlike some of my peers however, I have the unique experience of both being an immigrant and enjoying the privilege of being able to use my voice. I had experienced biases (I’ve lost count of the times people assumed I was the “help”) or bittersweet taste of racism (a high school counselor telling me that someone like me might be over-reaching on college prospects) but after seeing the ongoing dialogue during the election and the words spoken by the now President, I knew that this was completely different. This person managed to strike a chord with a large population the rest of us managed to ignore or deemed a lesser priority. Things would never be the same. I was genuinely afraid that the chilling discourse uttered during the election would become the norm. And in the first few days after the election, many of those fears became a reality.

As soon as I heard of the Women’s March, I knew I needed to go. My voice needed to be heard. And though the goals of the Women’s March continued to form and come into scrutiny – even days prior to its kickoff, I felt strongly enough about the basic mission that I knew I would regret it if I didn’t attend. As laid out by the founders: [to] stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country. This didn’t seem like a radical message to me….

I ventured to D.C. with a couple of friends. The day of the inauguration, we opted to ignore the festivities and instead watched Hidden Figures at a local theatre. Energized by the movie’s story, we returned to our apartment and worked on rally signs for the day after.

The morning of the march, the buzz in the air was palpable. We walked toward the rally point along with the masses. The crowds became larger as we walked toward the National Mall. The crowds were so massive that we gave up on being anywhere close to the stage. Once in the National Mall, chanting crowds and waves of signs surrounded us. At one point, the most amazing sound echoed throughout; marchers had begun to stomp on the plastic panels installed to cover and protect the National Mall grass. We truly were marching. I spent a lot of the time taking in the signs – some poignant, some heartbreaking and some outright hilarious.

There was a certain point however; I realized something was bothering me. A lot of the signs and posters mocked individual members of the government and the president. And though I understood the anger and frustration, I couldn’t deal with its negative energy. Giving this person attention is what he craves the most. I don’t feel he’s deserving of my anger. No thanks. I’m better than that; we’re better than that.

As we approach and organize for the next four years, I keep thinking of Michelle Obama’s famous quote – “…when they go low, you go high.” Here’s to higher living y’all! Let’s go.

About the author: Originally from San Antonio via Mexico City, Karina Becerra is a Boston University graduate and current MBA candidate at Babson College, F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. She has used her 10+ years in project/account management to drive success in cross-functional teams. A proud geek, Karina loves fostering innovation, diversity and women inclusion in technology. In her free time, you can find her cooking at home with her husband, enjoying a cocktail with friends, or acting as an Instagram stage mom to her newly svelte15 lb. cat, Santiago. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.