I attended the Women’s March on New York City with a friend and the Center for the Women of New York. We assembled in a midtown hotel lobby where I bought a commemorative pin and sash from the Center; they need the money and I wanted a memento that I can use again. I helped myself to complimentary coffee as added fuel.
I knew the event would be successful but none of us expected the fantastic turnout. It was too crowded to join the scheduled march at our assigned time and location; we simply couldn’t get through the crowd. Then a few marchers became a little claustrophobic so our group eventually dispersed. My friend and I were still unable to march up Fifth Avenue but did walk around, chatting with other attendees and admiring the signs. We chanted. I joined in singing “This Land Is Your Land.” The doormen at a posh hotel let us use their luxurious restroom.
It was inspirational. While women’s rights were the main focus, attendees also addressed healthcare, immigration rights, free speech and religious freedoms. The City was unprepared for the huge number of people; I don’t think there enough police officers to guide human and vehicular traffic. The few who were assigned were friendly. There was no violence. Everyone played nice.
Celebrities and politicians were scheduled to speak. I’m sure some did but I was nowhere near a stage. We couldn’t even get to the staging area! There was some spontaneous cheering that felt like a wave of sound: it would start somewhere and would travel like a roar, louder and louder, until the wave wrapped itself around me and I could only join in. Why fight the positive energy?
While the majority of participants were women, there were men and children too. These were City kids; none that I saw became frightened by all these people. Some carried signs or rode on their parents’ shoulders. The adults ranged in age from teens to older folks who probably marched for rights many, many years ago.
This should become a tradition: the day after every presidential inauguration should be Demonstration Day. Citizens would remind the new leader of what really matters to them and what we expect to see resolved. We let the new president see how she or he is viewed by the citizens of each city that chooses to demonstrate. We observe the new administration’s reaction and proceed accordingly.
Looks like we’ll be out there a lot more for the next four years. I’m sure glad I bought that Women’s March button.