Yesterday I wrote a relatively depressing look at where America is heading for Nation of Change, today I’m happy to say that I get to write about one of the beacons of hope of an otherwise dark month in America’s history – the Women’s March. Causing a relatively awkward morning after for the newly sworn in President over 700,000 people took to the Washington Mall and surrounding streets to express their displeasure with Donald Trump.
After two days of black bloc protests, burning limos, tear gas and getting hit in the head with a plant, it was actually nice to cover a quiet – albeit enormous political event. The Women’s March was sponsored by hundreds of groups from Planned Parenthood to the NRDC, it crossed feminist, environmental, religious and even atheist groups.
The place I was staying at was along the path from where the reportedly 200 busses dropped off many of the Women’s marchers. The walk to Capitol Hill was over a mile but the thousands of women that walked along East Capitol Ave took it in stride – chanting “Save Planned Parenthood.” The chant magnified as they passed an anti-abortion truck that regularly trolls lefty events.
Entering the area surrounding the mall looked like something I haven’t seen in over a decade. Hundreds of thousands of people holding signs and peacefully milling about, joking with each other, occasionally singing, cheering. I don’t remember such a thing since the protests of the Bush administration. Something which, I’d guess about half of these people were too young to remember. I’m usually an extremely pessimistic person at protests (if you read some of my work from the RNC and DNC posted at NOC you’d know that) but this brought some optimism back to this seasoned protest photographer.
Along the way, trying to work my way to the front of the stage where celebs like Scarlett Johansson and Amy Schumer were speaking I met Amy Blank. Blank, is running in Baltimore Maryland for a state senate seat “I’m here to empower my daughters because I have marched these streets many many times … and now I need to teach the next generation to do the same.” Her daughter, Manya, 16, was there too – she held a sign that said “We are all immigrants.”
Peggy from Cherokee, North Carolina, an older Native woman expressed her concern for the future for her granddaughter and the generations after her. Some of her group had recently returned from protesting at Standing Rock.
That was the theme that I got from a lot of the people marching – both men and women. So many of them were doing it for the next generation. They brought their babies, kids, teens to this march to teach them that this is – at least partially – what democracy looks like.
Climbing a stack of the controversial white flooring that had covered Mall the day I was able to watch the crowds go by… and go by… and go by. It seemed like a never ending flow of humanity speaking out with varied messages but truly with one voice.
Now the question is… do you think that the man in the White House heard it?