From red hats to pink hats: The awkward morning after

“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.”

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Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

Yesterday I wrote a relatively depressing look at where America is heading for NationofChange, 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.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

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.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange
Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

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.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

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.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

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.”

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

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.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

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.

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

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?

Photo Credit: Zach D. Roberts/NationofChange

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Zach D. Roberts
Zach D. Roberts is a photo/video journalist for NationofChange.org. His photojournalism has been featured in Time Magazine's Top 100 Photos of the Year, People Magazine's Photos of the Year and was awarded at FotoDC. Zach is co-produced Greg Palast's full length documentary, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. He is currently working on a book about the #resistance of 2017.

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