On a gray day in Washington D.C., a rainbow blanketed the streets. The political epicenter of the United States was flooded with every shade of activism.
There was fear in the days leading up to the march that there were too many conflicting messages, that it would be messy and therefore less effective. The march was for equal treatment (women, immigrant, Black, Mexican and LGBTQIA), climate change denial opposition, Black Lives Matter supporters and plenty of Anti-Trump protesters. Every sign, pin and chant represented a separate grievance or injustice, which ultimately did complicate the overall message of the march.
Was the march complicated? Yes. Was it less effective? No. The gathering in D.C, in cities scattered across the country and the world, was just that: a gathering.
The consistency of the march existed in the kindness of others. Numerous sources are reporting that no one was arrested and after the violence in Orlando, Syria and various places this past year, peaceful protesting sends the most impactful message.
Everyone had an opinion and at times the various voices had conflicting messages, but with the literal shoulder to shoulder masses of people there was nothing, but good vibes shared.
My experience in D.C. on January 22nd was a positive one. Despite the massive crowds, there was a cohesion and a common desire for change, perhaps not everyone was focused on the same changes, but there was agreement on the importance of activism.
I was standing in front of a sleeping baby in a carriage when a woman to the left of me, in the huddle of people located on Independence Ave. and 12th St., collapsed. A few women in the area began yelling for a medic when a man emerged from within the crowd. The man told folks that he would take her over to the ambulance located about a block away. The woman was whisked to safety, her limbs dangling from the arms of a stranger. The sea of people, almost intuitively, parted to let them through.
While my ballot reflected vastly different ideologies from that of our now President Donald Trump, his tweet in response to the march, I begrudgingly agree with, “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote?” Why did it take the reality of Trump being sworn into the White House for some of these people to be politically concerned?
It does bother me that it took a threat to turn into a reality for people to wake up, but ultimately I am glad that people are becoming involved, even if the timing is off.
While the march was not without controversy and a little disarray, it was peaceful. It showed the world that political activism is now alive and well, that there are people willing to express their freedom of speech and assembly in inconceivable numbers—without violence.