Last night I made it home from one of the most inspiring experiences of my life; the Women’s March on Washington in Washington DC. In all my years living near and visiting the city, I have never seen so many people in all my life. Not for the cherry blossom festival and not even for the 4th of July, which usually fills up the entire National Mall.
Over 600,000 people used the metro before 2 p.m. I spoke to people from all over the country who flew, drove, or carpooled into the city. And approximately 2,000 buses had parking permits, reaching the district limit.
So many more people came than expected that the 1.5 mile march filled completely so that there was nowhere to march to. In fact, the march became so large that it filled the National Mall and clogged side streets all the way the city several blocks!
The Women’s March had numerous goals that some news stations claimed were “disorganized,” but the truth is that all the causes were unified into one large movement of human rights and empathy.
We stood together to support numerous causes, particularly women’s rights, which in 2017 we are somehow still fighting for. Rights such as the right to control our own bodies, reproductive healthcare, maternity leave, preventing rape and violence against women, equal pay, breastfeeding, and keeping Planned Parenthood’s doors open, among many others. People marched for non-violence and gun safety, education reform, LGBTQ rights, healthcare, Black Lives Matter, trans rights, against Islamophobia and racism, to protect the environment, and against Trump and his policies which could hurt countless people and the planet with ramifications around the world.
My friend Sasha came from Boston to pick me up in Connecticut. Along the way to get me she saw her first van with writing on the window, “DC or Bust.”
We quickly noticed that we were not the only ones on the road making our way to DC for the march. We passed full buses, vans, and cars with signs in their windows. Women were knitting pink hats in the back of a minivan in New Jersey. At the rest step several hours away there were hundreds of women all waiting to use the rest room. At that moment we realized how big this was really going to be.
The drive which normally takes about four and a half to five hours took nearly nine from the volume of cars all funneling to the toll booths.
The morning of the march we arrived at the metro station with our passes at the ready. We were lucky enough to make it on, but as the stops became closer the trains became so overstuffed and the stations so clogged that they were backed up for nearly an hour.We came up at the Archives as marchers were pouring in from every angle.
A look from a tower built by an intersection.
Trucks with protestors on top blocked one road by the Capital.
We made it as far up as we could move.People climbed trees, walls, and even porta-potties to get a better view of the speeches.The speakers were not loud enough in many places so hearing from a distance was difficult, but the positive energy stayed strong.
People became anxious to start the march when we went over time, but what we did not know then was that the entire route we were supposed to march became so full of people we could no longer move.
The protestors turned around, determined to march on Washington and began taking to the city streets.
We took a moment to stand by the side to read all the signs as they passed.
I did not carry a sign. My tool of choice; my camera.
Everyone was smiling and encouraging one another. A man from the National Guard marching beside me said, ”I didn’t realize how many words could rhyme with Trump,” as people chanted.
The march was well organized with designated bathroom areas, medics, rehydration stations, and even lactation tents for nursing mothers. One of my favorite signs featured Carrie Fischer and stated, “A woman’s place is in the resistance.”
I am still in awe from the volume of people. Over 650,000 in DC alone and support from millions worldwide. I am so proud to have been there at the beginning in our country’s capital. I know that there will be more to come.
With so many people together, calls and texts could not make it through the overcrowded cell towers. I read the texts on our way back. Support poured in from home:
Matthew told me, “I am so incredibly proud of you two for being down there. You are shaping the history of women’s rights!”
“You go girls,” My cousin Ginger encouraged. “So proud of you!”
“That is AMAZING! I literally just got goosebumps. What an experience, Court. You are right smack dab in an important day of history right now. I’m so proud and jealous all at the same time,” were texts from my cousin Jessie.
“My cousin Karissa texted, “You are a rock star!”
Even my conservative republican father said, “You go girl!” and made sure to tell me how he was that I marched.
So if you know someone who went to the march, or a local march, be sure to let them know how proud of the you are!
If you or someone you know marched on January 21st, please share your story below. Let’s create a catalogue of marcher’s stories! Where did you march? How did you get there? Who did you go with? Why did you march? What moment did you find to be the most inspiring?
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