We made history on Saturday.
Last I checked, 500,000 people attended the march in Washington DC. Across the country, though, the low estimates are around FOUR MILLION. About 1 % of the population in each state,
That’s impressive, don’t you think? I’m so proud to have been a part of it.
March Day Run Down
I signed up to attend the march back in November, soon after it was announced and before it took up the momentum that it did. Fortunately, Rally Bus had pick up locations in my area and the prices were still reasonable: I paid $65 R/T but I think the prices more than doubled by January. I have to say, it’s probably one of the most comfortable buses I’ve been in and I would use them again and recommend them to friends.
Downside: bus captains are volunteers and ours weren’t the most organized. One seemed to resent signing up to be captain. The outlets didn’t work and we were told that the restroom facility on the bus was for emergency use only.
When is it not an emergency?
For a 4am departure, I had to wake up at 2am to get ready. I only made it to bed right after 11pm. For three hours of sleep, though, that’s the fastest I’ve gotten out of bed in months. I was motivated. This was a once in a lifetime event, and I absolutely did not want to miss my bus!
We made great time. Including a 15-minute break at a rest area, we got to DC by 8:15am. My strategy was to follow the crowd. I had pre-purchased the DC metrocard and assumed everyone was heading to the train station. I realized very late indeed that everyone was walking straight from RFK Stadium (the drop-off point for the buses) to the National Mall. It was an hour walk, which was fine because with the crowds and the members of the national guard high-fiving us and drivers honking in support, we got warmed up for the rally.
We made it to the mall by 9:15am and this point, I hadn’t used a restroom since I left my apartment. I already passed on a few port-o-potties along the walk because the lines were too long. But since the march wasn’t supposed to start until 10am and I was yet again met with another bathroom line, I said why not?
I was on that line for another hour. It actually wasn’t the worst thing in the world. This line was right in the way of the main road through which all the marchers were coming. So while I was waiting, I got to people watch, interact with fun folks who were also in line and more importantly, check out all the amazing signs my fellow Americans brought to the march.
Indeed, the signs were my FAVORITE part of the day! So much creativity, so much humor:
I found that I was constantly putting down my own sign so I could rush to take photos on my iPhone of everyone else’s. I regret not catching my favorites:
- A Trump Never Pays His Debts (With Trump’s face superimposed on a picture of Joffrey Lannister from Game of Thrones)
- If I Wanted the Government Inside My Womb, I’d Fuck It
- We Shall Overcomb
- I Will Not Go Quietly Back to the 1950s
Our hippie elders at the rally were quick to educate us millennials on How to Protest 101. We didn’t know our rally cries. We learned. Apparently, we also don’t know the words to “God Bless America” which was entertaining when the crowd all stopped singing or botched up the lyrics at the same time. God, I wish I had documented more!
The sheer number of people was overwhelming. If you got anywhere near the stage, you found yourself stuck in a human traffic jam. There wasn’t any personnel to provide guidance despite the abundance of help we were given from the walk from RFK Stadium to the Mall. But this couldn’t have been a better group of 500K+ people to be smushed together with.
Everyone was KIND. “I’m sorry” all over the place for unavoidable pushing and shoving. A pat on the arm and “Are you okay?” if a shove was too hard. No one afraid to ask the stranger next to them for advice. Helping each other out with supplies when the port-o-potty ran out of toilet paper or needed a Wet One wipe down.
WE CAME TOGETHER IN SOLIDARITY TO LOVE, NOT HATE.
It was cold, not terribly cold, but cold enough that you needed regular replenishment of warm fluids. There weren’t enough vendors in the area to meet the demand. There should have been food trucks. I don’t know what the official policies are for food vendors at rallies because I know there’s wealth of literature on the subject as it relates to mass demonstrations but if they were allowed, they should have been there.
Long story short, it was chaotic and I didn’t stay long. That was a good thing because by the time I ended up at a wine bar to warm up with food and drink, it was obvious that the entire march schedule had been delayed. With the metro system shut down because it could not safely accommodate for how many people showed up on Saturday, I decided to head back to the bus early. They were not going to wait for late passengers. Fortunately, the bar had the march on TV which gave me a better view of the stage and the speeches than I was going to get in person.
I did get to walk around the city center a lot, especially with the metro station shut downs and detours. My sign came with me everywhere. It was seen, complimented and photographed. My message was heard:
Because it is no longer just a dream. We have made progress in this country. America is already great and Trump insults us by discrediting everything we have accomplished.
I am not so naïve to believe that racism and slavery no longer exist in this country. But my message empowers the dream. It makes it true. I may be just one person but the discourse can change.
And I think that’s why so many people connected with my sign. The future is here. The future is now.
I won’t judge Trump by the fake color of his skin or his tiny hands as much as I may want to. For the record, I really want to.
I will judge him by the content of his character which is cancerous, dark and nauseating. I will judge him by the decisions he makes. I will judge him on his willful ignorance.
The march may be over and the truth is that most movements lose momentum at this stage. But we are angry people and we are riled up. For me, the Women’s March on Washington felt like a warm up. This nasty woman is fired up and ready to go!
If you’re interested in taking part in the next steps of the women’s movement, check out this link.
I’m honored to have been a part of this historic event. It was a long day that started at 2am and didn’t get me home until 11pm. But finding this gift on my car at the end the day not only put the biggest smile on my face but also reminded me of whom else I do this for:
Let’s keep moving forward.
And, as Jon Stewart used to say, here’s your moment of Zen: