Four years ago, when I was still relatively new to DC and All Souls Church Unitarian, an amazing thing happened. UUs from all over the country converged on Washington DC to participate in the March for Women’s Lives, a demonstration in support of women’s rights. I mean literally – almost every state was represented. Many important events have happened in DC and at All Souls since then, but still nothing like that. After a Sunday worship service with Dr. Rebecca Parker giving the sermon, we spilled out on to the streets and made our way to the National Mall to join other demonstrators. Estimates vary but anywhere between 800,000 and 1.15 million people participated. I can’t count that high. All I know is that I have been in many protests in my life but had never experienced anything like that peaceful, joyous, yet determined sea of humanity. A multitude of women, men, and children all together.
The other thing that I remember quite vividly about that march is that it was the first time I had ever protested as an identifiable part of a faith tradition. I had been a UU. I had gone to protests. I had never protested as a UU, as a person of faith. And it was extremely empowering.
And the woman who made it all possible was Kierstin Homblette.
Kierstin was the Legislative Assistant for Women’s Issues/Clara Barton Memorial Intern for the Washington Office at the time of the march. Much of her time was spent helping to plan and organize for this huge event. She is now finishing a tour in the Peace Corps in Senegal. When I asked her for her reflections on that day, she had this to offer:
It was so much more than a gathering of people in support of a cause. The March for Women’s Lives was something different for each of us. For me, the March and the months of planning that led up to it were an education in the power that I possess as a liberal person of faith. Organizing thousands of Unitarian Universalists to travel to Washington DC and worship and march together was the most difficult and time consuming part of my time at the UUA Washington Office. But the feeling of marching, singing, and witnessing with my fellow UUs on the Mall that day was also the most rewarding and fulfilling moment of my two years there.
By marching that day, we as Unitarian Universalists witnessed for what we believe and for what makes up the core of who we are. We didn’t just talk about it, or write about it, or even sing about it. We got out there and said it with our presence, with our bodies and feet and loud voices. And I marched next to my mother, who traveled all the way from Florida to raise her own voice with mine. Four years later, this remains a seminal moment for me – a turning point in my faith and in my confidence in the importance of our collective voice in the public discourse.