Women’s March

Yesterday ~25,000 people gathered in St. Petersburg, FL to participate in our local Women’s March. I’m honored to have participated in this inspiring event.

The Women’s March in D.C. began to be organized soon after election day. Their mission is here, but generally states that we would be standing together to protect our rights and celebrate the diversity of our country. Over 500,000 people traveled to D.C. to participate! More than double what was initially estimated! There were so many people, they couldn’t march because the entire march route was packed full. 

Other cities reported similar situations. Across the country, across the world, people marched!! All seven continents were represented!!

Picture of St. Pete marchers leaving Demen’s Landing. This picture was circulating on Facebook. I don’t know who took it. I’m happy to give credit if someone knows (or pull it down if they don’t appreciate me posting it here).

Getting to D.C. proved too costly for me, and likely many others interested in participating. Fortunately, a group of dedicated local volunteers stepped up to make sure St. Pete and the Tampa Bay area were represented.  In the early phases of planning, only a few thousand were expected to turn out.

In the latter phases of planning, 17,000 people had registered for the event. 

In actuality, ~25,000 people showed up to march in St. Pete! (according to on-the-ground police estimates)

25,000!

Initially, we were supposed to stay on the sidewalks for a portion of the route. We, the marchers, obliged. There was a big backlog at the turning point of the march route. I think the police feared people might start passing out (it’s a goodly bit hotter in St. Pete than in D.C.), but whatever the reason, they opened Beach Drive to us!

We were so many, we shut down the streets of St. Pete! 

The energy was so positive. The attendees were diverse in age, culture, religions, race, sexual orientation. There were very few hecklers.

Pussy hats abounded, even in the heat! Amazingly witty protest signs were scattered everywhere. Unfortunately, I didn’t take too many pictures because I didn’t want to miss the experience. But if you’ve done any Googling you’ve already seen some of the awesome protest signs.

The marching chants were also moving. My favorite? “We need a leader, not a creepy Tweeter.”

Other chants included:

  • “Washington hear our call! Women’s rights, protect us all!
  • “Unite! Unite! Unite for equal rights!”
  • “Unite! Unite! Unite for human rights!”
  • “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Misogyny has got to go!”
  • “Don’t give up, rise up!”
  • “This is what democracy looks like!”
  • “Stand up, fight back!”
  • “Whose streets? Our streets!”
  • “Love, not hate, makes America great!”
  • “No fascists, no KKK, no racist U.S.A.!” (something like that)

There may have been others, but I’ve forgotten… Big picture? This wasn’t just about women! Equal rights for all! Human rights for all! Democracy for all! A reminder that the streets we marched in are our streets! A message of love and inclusivity! A reminder that racism will not be tolerated!

I’m moved and inspired to be part of such a wonderful event that connected the entire world!

But this event wasn’t the end. It is the beginning. We are waking up, and we are standing up for and protecting our rights.

Yes, it will take work. I will ask you to join me. A little goes a long way! A postcard to a representative, a phone call here and there. Include your family! Include the kids. If you didn’t go to this march, march with me next time! We’ll link arms so you don’t feel afraid!

But we must do something. We must keep this momentum going. The Trump administration is already lying and has coined the term “alternative facts.” This is our country, and we can not let his administration take it away from us on the backs of lies.

Join me. Join us!

Yesterday we saw what democracy looks like. Now we must do the quiet work behind the scenes to put that democracy to action.

Solidarity!

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