It’s been four long years and I wouldn’t miss today with you for anything.
The world waits to see if we’ll get it right this time. Which America is the real America?
A vast majority of you arrived in my life on a night when the planet seemed to turn upside down and the ground beneath us began to shake. I don’t know how I would have kept my balance all this time, if not for friends who steadied my legs, held my hand, rode with me to Washington, and marched with our handmade signs.
We’ve made it to our second chance, and we got here together.
Today, I’m thinking about the ones who started the journey with us that night, and didn’t make it to today. The ones who became sick and lost their hardest fought battles. The ones who never found peace here and left us to look for it somewhere beyond our vision. They resisted as long as they were able, and whether we win or lose today, we will continue to resist fascism, inequality, racism, xenophobia, cruelty, and bigotry, with their memory in mind.
The fight doesn’t end here. The finish line is a mirage. We have much further to go.
If we lose, we don’t despair. We get back up and work tomorrow.
If we win, we remember how easily it was once lost, and we work tomorrow. And we must do all that with the clear understanding that we didn’t create resistance. Black women, native Americans, immigrants, LGBTQ- they were resisting long before some of us “woke” white people joined them- with not much more than our poor excuses. They made room for us, even as their hard work was relegated to the shadow of “The Resistance,” and even when no one apologized for that.
We owe them our thanks for showing us the way, and we owe them our apologies for arriving late.
I want you to know how fortunate I feel to have had this journey with you. I’ll never forget feeling around in the darkness and grabbing the hands of one million of you. It has been my privilege to watch your families grow and to stand witness for the times when they were made smaller.
Thank you for giving me a space in your life and thank you for wanting to hold a space in mine. Thank you for the support and the love, and thank you for the lessons.
We left everything we had on the field. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of us.
Drink some water. Eat. Laugh. Toast the rewards of a battle made better because we have each other. Rest.
And show up early for work tomorrow. We all punch in at the same time as usual. Nothing changes. Democracy doesn’t take a break.
Amy Lola Darabos is a mother and author. She currently lives in Midland, Michigan.