Inez Milholland Boissevain, a lawyer, wearing white cape, seated on white horse at the National American Woman Suffrage Association parade, March 3, 1913, Washington, DC. Library of Congress
Dear Mr. Trump:
I just returned from the Million Women's March on Washington, one of 673 that took place around the world today. I want to thank you for making this possible. It was your 'locker room talk' that gave us the kick in the pants we needed to get off our asses. Women and the men who support us have been complacent far too long. Thanks to you, we now know that was a mistake.
Saturday's march was an amazing event. I've seen nothing like it in 50 years of going to marches all over the country. When it was first announced I was skeptical that anything big could be organized quickly. I was wrong. Since Nov.10, women have been turning out for meetings all over the country in greater numbers than before. Going to a march gave them a way to focus their dismay at what has happened to their country and what it portends for the future. The many women I spoke to today came not just for themselves but for their children and grandchildren.
I left early to walk the two miles to the gathering point, thinking I would get a good camera spot from which to photograph the speakers on the stage. Almost immediately I saw women with march signs, some with pink pussy hats, walking the same route. That's when I knew it would be big. By the time I got to 7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue the crowd was so thick that it looked like it was the march, not one of the feeder routes to the rally.
I nudged my way down 7th Street as the crowds thickened until I could barely move. While I saw many signs, the only group I recognized was Food not Bombs
, which was dispensing free coffee and soup to anyone who wanted a cup. I had planned on walking to Independence Avenue and from there to the 3rd St. stage but it soon became clear that I couldn’t do that. The crowd was packed and wasn't moving.
San Francisco Food Not Bombs
Instead I turned west on Jefferson Dr. hoping to find a jumbotron to watch. Fences were everywhere, making it even harder to move around. I sometimes had to walk a hundred yards just to reach the end of a fence and make a u-turn to the other side. I spent hours walking around or hanging out at the old Smithsonian Castle
and surrounding buildings.
I saw a lot of signs. They were mostly home-made. There hadn't been time to produce a plethora of professionally printed signs as is normal at large marches, but there were stations where cardboard and marking pens were provided for people to produce their own. The sentiments and the printing was so diverse that most people must have brought their signs with them.
The museums were open for business. I was impressed with the courtesy and efficiency with which the guards and bag searchers handled an enormous flow of people, coming inside mostly to find bathrooms and food. At least one museum guard opened the men’s room to women to relieve some of the congestion. I haven't used a men's room in decades.
I never did find a spot from which I could see the speakers on a jumbotron, but there were a few places where I could hear bits and pieces. Mostly I made my way through crowds and crowds of people, while reading their signs and taking photographs. Other people walked around as well, signs held high. They couldn't see the proceedings, but they could be seen by others. They were marching, even if they didn't know where they were marching. Those who weren't walking were standing on everything, straining to see something.
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