Power to the People
“Power to the people, power to the people, right on,” she sang as she grinned at me, soft lines hugging the sides of her mouth. I had never met this woman in my life, but something in me knew that I was supposed to know her, for even just a few moments. We had just turned onto Grant St. downtown, the Highmark building now towering over our view of the end of the road. She was about sixty or so, but had more energy than any of the other people around. I heard one of her friends mention that no one of this younger crowd would know her cheer, a John Lennon tune that she had sang in marches long before this one. I wove through a few pink hats and signs to find myself beside her, my voice now matching her own. Before long we had assembled a crowd within the stream of people around us, teaching those around us this song that meant much more to her than just this one Women’s March of 2018. She had been doing this for years, fighting for rights not just of her own generation’s, but for mine, long before I even existed. There was something about this generational gap, as I stood next to those of my mother’s age and they stood next to children who would be the next generation of protestors, that I realized we were all working for the same things. The power we are all seeking, in a Women’s March or a March for Science or a March for our Lives, is not just for a few of us, but for all of us. We are a smaller whole of a macrocosm that must be defended, despite who shows up to march with a sign and a song.
I wonder where this woman is now, and what her day-to-day life looks like. I can’t imagine it would look much different than the way she, herself, looked at the March. You can tell when people are like that, the type where they never really stop fighting for what it is that they care about. I can’t promise much about my life, but I would love to grant myself the kind of days ahead that bring me to a place similar to hers. I wonder what my John Lennon song will be. I wonder what my sign will say. I wonder what my outspoken young girl in the crowd will say, and what she will think about me. I wonder what she will think about the world she lives in. God knows she will know it much better than me.