I think many of you will identify with the overwhelming feelings of apprehension and anxiety that washed over me in waves in the wake of November’s election. Our beloved country seemed to be taking a very dark turn. An agenda of intolerance, division and disregard for the environment was being put forward that in no way represented where I stood on a multitude of issues.
As soon as I heard the idea of a Women’s March being floated, I knew I had to be a part of it. I have been a political junkie for years; reading articles, watching the pundits, signing online petitions and occasionally contributing to campaigns and causes. I had been dipping my toe in the activist “pool” for quite some time, now here was an opportunity to really participate, to stand up for what I so strongly believe in and be counted.
My daughters Tori and Cassie joined me and we arranged to meet our friends Janice and Bucky at the Thinking Cup on Tremont Street (a cool café that we will definitely expound upon in a future post…). By the time Janice and Bucky arrived, the place was packed with marchers, many decked out in pink and carrying their signs. There was an atmosphere of growing excitement as people chatted with each other waiting for their orders. The staff of The Thinking Cup outdid themselves serving the growing crowd.
With coffees in hand, we headed over to Boston Common. Not sure what the turnout would be, we arrived around 9:45am to find a spot to stand.
There were already a lot of people milling around, a lot of “pussy” hats worn by women, men and even kids! (click here to read more about the Pussyhat Project), and a lot of good energy.
As the field continued to fill up, local musicians and musical groups like the Boston Children’s Chorus entertained, then the master of ceremonies for the days event, minister Mariama White-Hammond of the Bethel AME Church in Boston welcomed everyone to the rally. We were informed that there would be representatives from nearly every community affected by the new administrations agenda speaking at the event. The Native American community, the LGBTQ community, Planned Parent, the ACLU, the NAACP and among others.
Though there were numerous anti-Trump signs that got a tremendous reaction from the crowd, the overall tone of the event was overwhelmingly positive.
Many of the speakers illustrated the intersectionality of the different movements present and the importance of supporting and protecting each other, reminding us that we are “stronger together”.
There was a sense from the very beginning that we were all in this together. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and State Attorney General Maura Healey all gave inspiring speeches highlighting their commitment to dignity, respect and equal rights for everyone. While the event was led by women, it was truly a celebration of diversity with marchers of every conceivable background.
Mariama then stepped forward to lead the People’s Oath, asking the crowd to pledge to uphold and protect the Constitution, after which people began exiting Boston Common to begin the march at the bottom of Tremont and Charles Streets.
While waiting to exit the field, Mariama came back to the microphone to ask for our patience, explaining that the original hope was for 25,000 people but by Thursday 65,000 had signed up and by Saturday morning, 99,000 had officially registered. She laughed saying “And I know that not all of you registered!”.
Exiting the field along Tremont, we got in line at the rear of the march on Charles Street.
The sheer volume of people made it difficult to move forward at more than a slow shuffle, but everyone there was committed to participating.
There were sporatic outbreaks of chants like “Show me what Democracy looks like, This is what Democracy looks like!”. Others included “We Say No to Hate and Fear, Immigrants are Welcome Here”,” When Women’s Rights Are Under Attack, What We Do? Stand Up, Fight Back”, Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Donald Trump Has Got to GO and the ever popular “Love Trumps Hate”.
It was an amazing feeling to be in such a massive group of like minded individuals and I believe all came away feeling more hopeful. Although we are entering uncertain times it is heartening to see that people are not going to stand on the sidelines and watch injustice happen. We can stand together united and fight for our rights and the rights of others and what we believe in.
I encourage our readers to come out and stand with us. Call your senators, donate to organizations that fight for the rights of minority groups and join in peaceful protest. We are making history together. And this is just the beginning.
Some facts about the Women’s March in Boston:
Official estimate put the total attendance at 175,000, far exceeding the original estimate of 25,000.
The March was peaceful with Boston Police reporting Zero Arrests.
The Boston Parks Department thanked the events organizers and marchers alike for being both clean and courteous leaving Boston Common in great condition.
The MBTA, Parks Department, Police, Fire and EMT did an amazing job, working tirelessly to support the event despite the massive turnout– THANK YOU!