What It Was Like to Wheel Through the Women’s March ‘the Disabled Way’


On Saturday I marched in the New York City Women’s March. Well, marched is a relative term – technically I wheeled through the Women’s March in NYC. You see, I am unable to walk or stand for more than five to 10 minutes at a time. Thus, marching for hours in a long march is kind of out of the question for someone like me. But, I feel so strongly about healthcare for all and women’s rights issues that I felt I must be a part of the moment and movement. So, I went about doing the Women’s March my way – the disabled way.

The Women’s March organizers had luckily thought about the march participants like me. They had organized a dedicated starting place for those who are disabled. As a matter of fact, we were told to come right up to the very front of the march area and listen to the rally, which we did. I heard some really amazing people talk at the rally for this march – Rosie Perez, Whoopi Goldberg and more. All people who feel the way that I do, that women’s rights are human rights, and that healthcare is a right – not a privilege.

people in wheelchairs at the 2018 women's march in new york city

But, as many famous people as there were there, they weren’t the true inspirations I met that day. The inspirations I met were the other disabled people like me. Not one of the disabled people there was concerned with whether or not we could finish the march. None of us were concerned with the fact that we were different than the other marchers. None of us were concerned that people would look, stop and stare at an army of wheelchair warriors thundering down the march route at the head of the march. No – these people were there for the same reason I was – they had to do this because it was what they felt inside they must do for themselves, and for those like them who couldn’t be there to march.

There were over 200,000 different people at this march. All different shapes, sizes, genders, illnesses, disabilities, sexes and races, and it was one of the first times in my life that I didn’t worry about how I looked, or what people would think of me or say about me. Bystanders shouted their approval and clapped and sang along with us as we rolled by. I was apart of a whole, not some strange individual to be stared at. For one of the first times in my life, I felt like I was seen, appreciated and thought of no differently than anyone else there that day. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

The Women’s March in NYC taught me there are people out there who don’t see your wheelchair – they see you. There are allies and friends out in our world who believe I deserve the best healthcare, and I shouldn’t be going bankrupt for it. These were the people like me, who believed that yes, one person can make a difference, and yes – healthcare is a human right and they will fight for me just as I will fight for them.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Illness

woman in a jean shirt standing outside in a field with cloudy weather looking down

When Chronic Illness Makes You Feel Jealous of Others' Accomplishments

There are many times when I am told about someone’s life — what they’re doing, what they’ve done, their plans for the future — and, be it family member, friend or complete stranger, I get absolutely sick with jealousy. Like, actual jealousy, not envy, and that’s even worse. Somehow, when I hear about other people’s [...]
woman running and checking her time on her watch

5 Reasons I Enjoy Working Out as a Young Woman With Chronic Conditions

I’m not trying to be tragic, I swear I’m not. But don’t many of us have a hard relationship with our bodies? Especially if you have a chronic condition, physical or mental. Because it seems like there’s always something: the side effects of the medications, the mere symptoms of the thing you are dealing with, [...]
me on the inside vs me on the outside

If You've Ever Been Told You Don't 'Look' Sick, These 14 Memes Are for You

Invisible illness can be a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can be nice to keep your health issues private, only sharing them with others when you’re comfortable doing so. But on the other hand, many people hold the misconception that you must “look” sick in order to be sick – which can lead [...]
heart shaped medical locket, blue rolling backpack and fish-shaped laundry bag

14 Things That Can Make High School With a Chronic Illness Easier

Tackling high school is tough for any teenager. But teens with chronic health conditions deal with challenges the average student doesn’t have to think about. For example, where will you keep your medication? What if you have a pain flare in the middle of class? How do you carry a heavy backpack to all your [...]