On Saturday, my mom and I went into Boston to join the Women’s March, one of the many marches that took place nationally and internationally the day after the inauguration. In Boston, like in many other cities, attendance was much higher than anticipated (city officials estimated the final turnout around 175,000), turning the march into more of a standing protest.
But getting there – on the T packed with other protesters, everyone friendly and wearing pink hats – and then emerging onto the Boston Common at Park Street to see people streaming toward the stage, carrying or wearing their messages, was emotional. I don’t like crowds as a rule, but I’ve never felt safer or more welcome in one.
Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke, Senator Ed Markey spoke, mayor of Boston Marty Walsh spoke. So did many others, and then there was a lot of standing around as the organizers and police tried to figure out how to funnel over 100,000 people along a march route planned for a much smaller number.
That part was a bit boring and mildly claustrophobic, but the weather was far nicer than we could have expected for January, and I had brought a sandwich and a book, and there were lots of signs to read as well.
Signs ranged from serious and straightforward to clever and funny. Here are a few of the ones I saw:
- Girls just wanna have FUNdamental rights
- Women’s rights are human rights
- Climate change is not a hoax
- Bend toward justice (presumably an allusion to the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice”)
- I’m with HER [picture of a globe]
- WE THE PEOPLE [ACLU]
- Speak truth to power
- Black Lives Matter
- Orange is the new bleak
- Too worried to be funny
- STEMinist (the belief that women are people, science is real, and women belong there)
- You know it’s bad when the librarians are shouting (librarians are actually much more shouty than the stereotype would indicate, particularly when it comes to standing up for freedom of speech and fighting against censorship). Likewise, “So bad even the introverts are here.”
- Rebel Rebel (Princess Leia again, but with a David Bowie lightning bolt. I didn’t see this one myself but my friend Tim snapped a picture from the DC march)
There is such a diversity of causes represented by the left: women’s rights, equal pay (for women, of all races), anti-racism, access to health care, parental leave, paid sick time, LGBTQ rights, education, climate science, common sense gun safety laws, and more. I hope we can work together to make progress on all of them. To start, the Women’s March organizers are suggesting 10 actions for the first 100 days.