Yesterday, I had the privilege to be part of something bigger than myself: I participated in my local Women’s March, one of over 600 sister marches in support of the DC Women’s March on Washington in support of women’s rights, equality, and indeed a greater humanity worldwide.
And it was fucking amazing.
To start out, I wasn’t quite as prepared as I wanted to be. I didn’t realize there were sister marches until just a few days before, and didn’t end up having time to crochet a pussyhat or make a sign. Plus, I came down with a cold the day before and for a bit decided that maybe I wouldn’t go out after all, because the weather report was calling for chilly drizzle, possibly rain.
But see, here’s the thing: I have two friends right now who are struggling with advanced cancer, and they are terrified. And they shouldn’t have to be – they should be able to focus on their health and taking care of themselves emotionally instead of fearing they won’t live out the year because a narcissistic sociopath who is more concerned with the size of his crowd than with the human beings he is supposed to be a leader for wants to trash their healthcare. I have friends who are LGBT+ who have the joy of finally being able to marry their loves who are now fearful of that being torn away from them simply because of who they love, despite the fact that they harm nobody. I have friends who cannot even pee without it being politicized, because there are elements in state government who apparently have a really fucking creepy obsession with what other people do in a bathroom. What’s having a cold against these vastly more important concerns? So, I got out.
I had heard estimates that the organizers expected around 1,400 people to show up, so I made a point of getting down to the area early enough to get parking. There’s lots of parking in the downtown Greensboro area and I parked in one of the decks near the end of the march route. It was less than half a mile to where the march was starting so it was a nice morning stroll over to Government Plaza. There was another woman there with her son who looked to be in his late teens or early 20s. He had a sign that said “I’m With Her”, which made me smile. We greeted one another and chatted briefly before they walked on ahead (I’m a slow walker). I got to the plaza a little over an hour before the start of the march, and there were maybe a few hundred people hanging around. The march organizers had some premade signs and I was able to get one, so I did have a sign to carry. Mine said “We Unite for Our Bodies, Our Choice” and on the back I added the “I’m With Her” thing because there were a lot of those around and I liked the idea of showing that I was with my sisters.
One of the things I noticed right away – there were a LOT of men present. Not counter-protesters, mind you; men who were there in support of the women, in support of equality, of justice, of compassion. Old men, young men, men with long hair, men with short hair, white men, black men, brown men, every kind of man you can think of was there. Many of them wore pink – pink scarves, pink pussy hats, pink sashes. One carried a sign that said “Men of quality do not fear equality”, and I think that summed these men up wonderfully. Strong, compassionate, quality men. I’d say a good solid third or more of the crowd were men, and holy shit that was awesome to see. As a woman gamer, nerd, and inhabitant of the internet I do see a lot of examples of “men” being absolutely shitty to and about women. I was delighted by the reminder that those assholes are absolutely indeed Not All Men.
The other thing that quickly became extremely apparent was that the crowd went well over the original estimates. The News and Record put the estimates at 3,000 to 6,000. I believe the crowd was easily, easily closer to the 6,000 end of that.
So around 10 the festivities started. Rabbi Fred Guttman led the crowd in some singing and there were a couple of fantastic spoken word poets (I’m still trying to find out the names – I didn’t catch them at the event, and they aren’t on the poster), and then we got started. We walked down February One, past the Civil Rights Museum (which is located inside the building where our famous Woolworth’s once stood – scene of the lunch counter protests), turned onto Elm Street, and walked through downtown to LeBauer Park.
The entire event was positive, peaceful, uplifting, and amazing. Props especially to the Greensboro PD – they were along the march route and they waved and gave us the thumbs-up, offering fistbumps to some of the marchers and in general making us feel welcome and supported.
Some links below where you can see pics:
The Triad NC Women’s March facebook page has a ton of photos and videos many of the participants shared.