There was a women’s march this past weekend, and I didn’t attend so I’m not sure how it went. But I hope it went well! And I’m glad it happened. But I’m going to tell you about the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, because that one I did go to.
At the end of 2016 everything was pretty depressing. 2016 had actually been a great year for me personally and I was feeling fab and then November and Election Day came around and it was the worst day that ever happened. You’ve heard the story many times before, but no one was expecting that Trump would get elected. And that’s why he did get elected, because essentially no one was really paying enough attention to the nefarious pockets of ignorance in this country. Including me.
Word spread that there would be a women’s march on Washington around the same day as Trump’s Inauguration. Women’s March 2017 marches were organized for other cities as well, including NYC. At first I think we thought we would go to that one, but eventually we threw around the idea that maybe we’d find a bus and go to the one in DC. There were a bunch of buses offered from various cities, paid for by various people or companies or campaigns or whatever. The first one we tried to get on filled up. But then we heard about some buses that Angela McKnight was running from Berry Lane Park so we emailed and crossed our fingers.
We ended up getting a spot on one of those buses and we were beyond excited. It was time to make signs! It was time…TO CRAFT. My roommate got us a bunch of supplies, and we found a website that had made poster sized prints of cool protest images in 4 pieces so you could print them out at work or Staples or whatever and then stick them onto cardboard and BOOM, bad ass sign.
There was glitter, markers, glue, fun colored tapes, bright colored papers, letter stickers…perhaps this was my favorite part of the whole march. The night before we spread it all out in our living room and got our signs ready to go.
One side of my sign said, “STEP OFF! STEP OFF! CAN U NOT?” “Step off” because at the time I had a joke with my then 2.5 year old nephew where we would yell “STEP OFF!” like in the song in School of Rock…
Also because I wanted Trump to step off and get out of my face.
It said “CAN U NOT?” because I thought it was a funny way to say it but also I wanted the government to NOT…do anything terrible. Both sentiments were accentuated by unicorn emojis because at the time the unicorn emoji was my favorite emoji, and I wanted to display my preference and platform of being both feminist and girly AF.
The other side of the sign had a bear that was an angry bear. Angry because of all this bullshit, probably.
While we made our signs we also discussed some strategies. I will admit that we were very afraid. I’m not 100% sure why we were afraid and sometimes I feel silly for being afraid, looking back, but it did seem that something could go terribly wrong and we could get hurt or arrested or even just be made to cry and we didn’t want any of that to happen. Especially the crying. In public. Shameful.
But we had fears of like, tear gas, or people stampeding over us, or some kind of dangerous chaos or confusion. So we wrote our own phone numbers and each other’s phone numbers and the phone number for the ACLU on our arms in Sharpie. In case our phones died or didn’t work or we lost them or lost each other.
Our outfits for Women’s March 2017 were carefully selected for warmth and practicality. We both had newly attained Uniqlo Heat Tech gear from a recent New Year’s Eve trip to Montreal, so we busted that out. We both wore hiking boots and thick socks. An earnest search for black bandanas was made, but we ended up getting black cloth napkins from Bed Bath and Beyond (we felt we needed bandanas to protect us from the possible tear gas we were very scared of).
Most importantly, I knit myself a pink “pussy” hat! Like most things I make by hand, the craftsmanship was questionable, but I was still able to wear it and it still looked like it had ears. And I was proud! It was irritating AF to hear old white men be like “Why are all these women wearing these HATS and talking about their PUSSIES what are they even MARCHING FOR?” So they can suck it. I don’t have to explain myself to them. I made the hat. I wore the hat. I marched in the hat. Bye.
travel to dc.
The morning of the march we took an Uber up to Berry Lane Park, very very early, it was still dark. At the time we were DOWNTOWN JC 4LIFE and neither of us had ever even heard of Berry Lane Park. Now I ride a Citibike through the park almost every morning (at least when it’s not winter). The times, they change.
We were given a snack bag! A SNACK BAG! I was pumped about the snack bag and thought it was very kind. I forget what was even in there but I do recall an apple. Then Mayor Fulop had a quick speech for us and we boarded the buses and were on our way.
I think I napped the whole way, I was tired as hell. That or I watched season 1 of The OA. I know I DEF watched The OA on the way back because I didn’t want to talk to another person ever again. My talking to people quota for the day was beyond exceeded.
the women’s march on washington.
When the buses arrived at…some kinda stadium…we hopped off and we were on our own to find our way. They told us to be back by a certain time and we set off into the world.
Women’s March 2017 was underway!
I hadn’t been to DC since like, 8th grade, so I had no idea where to go and remember just kind of following the crowd. There were a TON of helpful people that seemed to be working for the march, they were all wearing the same shirts, and they guided us along our way.
One of the best things about the march was these helpful people. They were spread out all over the place and were there to ask questions and keep things organized. As soon as we made it to the area where everyone was, near the Mall, i no longer felt afraid or confused or like something was going to go wrong because these folks were everywhere and I felt they had it under control.
I also felt like all of the attendees, the “marchers,” if you will, were all on their very best behavior. Usually when you’re in a big crowd of people, at least someone or a group of someones will start to get stressed out and in a bad mood and they’ll start being mean or pushing or being loud or making a big deal about someone stepping on their foot. I did not see this happen ONCE at the Women’s March on Washington in 2017. I can’t speak for other women’s marches, but this one seemed to be very solemn and like everyone had pledged to be their best social selves, at least for one day.
Walking around, I remember really, REALLY loving everyone’s signs and outfits and chants and posters and ideas. It was one of those times where everything I saw made me laugh or cry or think, “Dammit I wish I thought of that.”
It seemed like we missed any real definitive “march” moment, or maybe it happened not quite where we were, but we were able to see a few speakers on the mall. They had big TV screens set up so we could see closer, but we were in a spot where we could also see people standing on the stage.
Without thinking too hard, I remember Angela Davis and Janelle Monae most clearly. I’m ashamed to say that I had no idea who Angela Davis was before this day, but after I heard her speech I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her writing. She spoke powerfully and renewed a spirit of activism within me that I hadn’t been paying attention to. I’m 100% sure everyone else listening was equally inspired.
Janelle Monae I remember because I have seen her in concert before and it was cool to also see her in a political capacity. I was glad she was there and to hear her take.
The Mothers of the Movement also joined Monae on stage. I remember this vividly because it really broke my heart to hear them speak and I stood there sobbing quietly. There were more than a few things to sob about throughout the day.
I was just looking at my pictures from the march and it looks like Madonna and Amy Schumer were there and spoke too. But I forgot about them, sry.
After the speakers, the large mass of people continued to “march” but we were kind of confused as to where to go, so we just wandered and admired people’s signs and enjoyed the feeling of sisterhood. Our fears about something bad happening were always kind of there, but calmed down a little by the end.
We came across the Washington Monument and took some pictures there.
As everyone dispersed, the marchers propped their signs against a fence in front of the capitol building, which was a cool display to see on our way out. I kept my sign because I wanted to remember this day forever.
It was an incredible day, one of my most favorites in the history of time. Even the weather cooperated, it was gray and cold but did not rain, THANK GOODNESS.
after the march.
After the Women’s March on Washington we made our way back to the bus, through residential streets in Washington, DC. Again there were a ton of people around to help, both volunteers with the march and local residents being good citizens/neighbors.
We settled back in on the bus and HAD TO WAIT AN HOUR FOR SOME DUDE THAT WAS LOST. I WON’T FORGET THAT. But eventually we were able to get in touch with him and he said to go on without him. K bye.
On the way back I fully watched The OA and spoke to no one. As I said, I was quite burned out on other human beings, even cool ones.
When we got back to JC we received a hero’s welcome at Porta! They gave us drinks and pizza, on them. They were making a point to do this for anyone that went to the march and it was badass. Porta is my heaven, if you were somehow unaware.
Did you go to the Women’s March on Washington in 2017? Did you go in NYC or LA or somewhere else? Did you make and/or wear a “pussy” hat? Did you happen to go to any marches this year or in 2018 or 2019? Personally I felt like 2017 was enough for now…like we can’t do it every year or it starts to mean less, in my opinion. But I support you if you wanna do it every year, I’ll just join you every 5 years or something like that. See you in 2022.