Yes, I went to the march so let’s just get down to it. I am a brown woman who is differently abled. I’m also a teaching artist. I went to the march. Here are documentary video snippets captured with GoPro headgear- one of my new favorite storytelling tools.
Here are the photos I took today. I wish I had taken a million more but I was torn between the documenting and the experiencing. I went more with experiencing in the end because I kept crying. The pictures are blurry because I am crying.
I headed downtown on my own. I had volunteered as a Marshal and reread the Marshal Guide and materials this morning. One of the suggestions was to come with a friend. I knew I was going to try and document as much as I could and for me that means flying solo- and I loved it. I navigated down with the crowds and chose to head back down 7th street to see the contrast between yesterday and today. Yesterday I was down there for three hours collecting documentation and waiting to move through a security checkpoint to enter the non ticketed area of the mall in hopes of catching some of ceremony and parade. The checkpoint took so long we missed the swearing but caught the protests inside and the parade- but that is another story to be published later.
After a few hours of trying to navigate the crowd to find my Marshal meet-up, then parking for a few minutes in the National Gallery of Art East building to use the facilities, warm up and change my shift on my phone to try again- I kinda gave up ever finding my Marshal meet up because the crowd was becoming more and more dense, peacefully overwhelming everything. First I just snaked moving deeper towards Independence Avenue up 4th street hoping to get close to the stage on my own, taking it all in. GoPro on, camera at the ready, I was present. It was delicious. After my fill of sardine solidarity I moved back towards the middle of the Mall. If I was this stuck maybe everyone else was too so I decided to help where I could, right around me.
As I walked around I kept looking for a higher vantage point to see what was really happening. Was it this thick and densely packed all over? I asked the people stationed in trees who said yes but I wanted to see for myself. Looking up at the three young girls in the tree I had a moment. I had a tree of my own that I climbed high in so easily, once. Just a melancholy human reckoning of physical ability.
As a former student athlete, tomboy and girl who loves to play and sweat I got particularly tickled when I saw this sign just a few moments later.
I walked away from 4th towards the Washington Monument and saw a First Aid Tent. I went in to offer help. Turns out it was a tent from the Inauguration, not for the march. There were about 50 cases of bottled water in there and people had started to hand them out. The people who were already trying to distribute the water were just people attending the march who had wandered in and found the stash themselves. They called out “Free water- we need people to help-” and several people came over, we made an assembly line to pass the cases around the fence. More people came to help and I spotted a Parks Department utility vehicle parked with no one standing in the flatbed. I moved away from the assembly line climbed into the flatbed and took advantage of the height to see the mall.
It was a sea of people. I took some photos and video. I leaned against something sold, shifting my weight, feeling the being on my feet for the second day in a row. I scanned visually and could not spot a Marshal- too many people also wearing bright colored vests or clothing. Already I had made this mistake twice. As I stood there someone came over and asked me a question. So, I checked the app for the Women’s March (awesomesauce) and started sharing what I knew from where I was. As the updates came through I shared. More people asked questions-I did what I could. I made a commitment to help so I helped.
About 45 minutes into standing on the jeep- during which time someone gifted me a pussy hat of my very own; my Dad texts me to tell me a family friend saw me on MSNBC earlier in their coverage; I ran into high school classmates, colleagues, students and friends from out of town- my brotherunexpectedly texts me. We share locations and 10 minutes later he an my Mom show up. I’m no longer tired.
I hop off the Jeep. We snap a few selfies. By this time some folks who are now walking away from 4th Street share that the Coast Guard is turning people back from the march starting point, sending everyone towards 14th street. And by everyone I mean there are fence-to-fence seas of people now all moving towards west. The Women’s March app pops up the same message. I hop down, we three join hands and enter the sea of people headed across to 14th and Pennsylvania.
There is not a lot of media collection after that. There were over a million people there- there is tone of documentation out there. If we had a super computer like on the show Persons of Interest it could put together all those many photos available in the public domain to paint a true picture of how many people were actually there. With the million or more in Washington, D.C. and at sister marches around there world people gathered- it was a worldwide event that people came out for. A world- wide event.
Women rose up world wide. Let that sink in.