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Washington D.C. Women's March On Washington

Source: J.R. Davis / Radio One D.C

Women’s March on Washington was Global         (more than 60 marches around the world)

After fighting the roadblocks, street closings, buses, and out of town folk and people on Thursday during both rush hours, I decided that I would park my car, and take advantage of the convenience of the Metro to go down to the Woman’s March earlier today.  The Radio One team was going to meet at 8:00 this morning at a designated place and we would all move toward the stage so that we would have a great vantage point of all the sights and sounds of this historic day. I rode my bike to the metro (my version of Park and Ride) and at 7:40 as I was boarding the Blue Line, I thought I had made the right transportation call. There were plenty available seats at that time, although a few other participants had the same idea of trying to beat the crowds. Some people that had parked at other stops and were making their way downtown. It was obvious to me that the various woman that shared the blue line car with me were from places other than the DMV. They were making last minute adjustments to their backpacks, adding some additional words on their signage, texting friends to make sure they had the meeting place correct, and checking the map to make sure they were getting off at the right Metro stop. There was an overall positive excitement from the visitors and March participants. When we got to the Capitol South stop about 15 people from my car got off with me. When I took the escalator up from the platform to exit, that’s when it all hit. THE CROWD.  There were WMATA workers directing people and instructing them to have their Smart Cards out, keep the line moving, trying to be helpful as well and keeping order. There was probably a couple of hundred people moving through. When I got up to the street, the crowd multiplied. Pockets of people all over, everyone making their way to Independence Ave. The lines to local restaurants, coffee houses and stores were spilling over out into the street.. There was a tremendous hustle and bustle. There was organized chaos, but the energy in the air was a really positive vibe. People from all walks of life. Young, old, men, women, boys, girls, big, small, and every skin color. People of different races, religions, beliefs. Straight, gay, different cultures, ethnicities, all type of socio economic backgrounds from all stations of life. Everything you think of when you think diversity. The common thread; Rights. Women’s, Religious, Civil, Human, basic Rights.

“The Women’s March on Washington is a women-led grassroots movement that will bring people of all genders and backgrounds together to take a stand on social justice and human rights issues ranging from race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration and health care.”

It was 8:00 on a Saturday morning. It was damp, foggy, and cold, There was a sea of Pink Hats (cat). It was pretty amazing; people coming from all directions, converging at a designated spot, at a designated time and there was this overwhelming feeling. That we can stand united and come together, that we are not as divisive as the new President would have you believe.I met up with my coworkers and we moved towards the area where the stage was set up. We started taking pictures, of the crowd as it started to gather,, and were still looking for other team members that were making their way through the crowd. A couple of them decided that they were going to attempt a Starbucks run…..We never saw them again. There were so many signs. All very creative, expressive, heartfelt, profound sentiments on these handmade signs, that gave you a quick look into the person that was holding it, and who and what their presence represented. All striking a cord, eliciting a wide range of emotions, laughter, shock, sadness, and determination, But all stating in their own way that Woman’s Right are Human & Civil rights. As we stood out there, the crowd grew, and grew. What had been empty spaces filled. There were more signs, more people, more energy, but it wasallgood.

Washington D.C. Women's March On Washington

Source: J.R. Davis / Radio One D.C

By 9:00 we knew that our co-workers that had left earlier, would not be able to navigate the crowd to get back to us, and we text them to not even try. I tried sending some of the pictures that I had taken as well as video, but got a message, not delivered, after 15 minutes of it buffering and trying to be sent. Then I realized that couldn’t get service. I guess that is what happens when you have half a million people in one place trying to text, talk and tweet at the same time. Which is ok, because it made me be in the moment, as opposed to missing it, because I was trying to capture it on my phone. So we realized that the rally hadn’t started yet, and there was nowhere for us to go, and no way for us to move. I guess I was concerned because just the day before, I had witnessed a peaceful protest, where a few people caused the demonstration to become disruptive and violent. So I thought “What do we do if some craziness jumps off”? None of us had the answer, but we were all looking for an opening or a path, if a quick exit was needed.

 At 9:59, sounds started coming from the stage, and it wasn’t until then that we noticed that the way the stage was set up we would not be able to see or hear. We were standing at the side of the stage, and the speakers were at the front of the stage, so we couldn’t hear and the Jumbotrons were positioned out of our purview, to the right and behind us. After a few organizers, singers and speakers came to the stage, we decided we were going to try to make a move to get a better vantage point. After slicing through the crowd for about 10 minutes we got step over a fence that had been knocked down and climb over a rock, with the help of people in the crowd. We got to a place that offered us a better vantage point, we good see & hear the stage and also were in better position to see the big screen, and the ability to move around a little better. At that moment they announced Co-Chair of the March,Gloria Steinem,was coming to the stage.

At 82, thefeminist, journalist, and social and political activist, took the stage and was just as on point, powerful and relevant in speaking today as she was when she became a nationally recognized leader and a spokeswoman for the feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She spoke for about 10mins, and the crowd became even more energized, and excited. More speakers, more performers, more people. The open space that we had enjoyed for about 10 minutes, began to fill up. Some of the people that had been beside us where we had previously been standing found us and our open space. As we listened we realized that we should start making our way through the crowd and try to find the rest of our group. So we started moving. As we moved more performers and speaker came to the stage. We could hear them and feel the crowd react and respond positively. After moving through the crowd that seem to be getting bigger every minute. There were times when we just stood, unable to move. You couldn’t go forward or backward. We even cut a path through the people only to find that we couldn’t cross, because there was a fence that we couldn’t see. As crowded as it was, there was never a time that anyone raised their voice in anger. People’s attitudes, tones, and tempers, were all in check (there were some slide glances and faces, I caught a glimpse of from time to time but nothing jumped off. That is not what this March was about. It was predicated on coming together, showing love, support, and a commonality. Together we’re Stronger.

Finally after an hour we got to an opening on Pennsylvania Ave.  We did lose one of our team in the crowd, but I know he made it through, cause all the great shots you see of the event on this page, he took.  We had been there for over four hours and were moving away from the crowd, there was a new wave of people, coming in droves to participate and be a part of this March. Throughout the dayhundreds of Solidarity marches were held across the nation in LA, Chicago, New York, Boston, and Denver and other cities and states. As well as in cities in other countries, Italy, Germany. England, Paris. It was a global event. As we made our way back to the Capital, we walked past lines for the port a johns, people still making their way  to get as close to the action as they could. Closing down street that were supposed to be open to traffic, simply by being there in the middle of them. I was amazed at how many people were still coming. I was tired, cold, and my back and feet were sore, from the standing. As I retreated and was making my exit, there were a hundred more coming to replace me. Even when I got to the subway, people were still coming. Everyone determined to exactly what the organizers had envisioned.

“The Women’s March on Washington is a women-led grassroots movement that will bring people of all genders and backgrounds together to take a stand on social justice and human rights issues ranging from race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration and health care.”

The March is a statement of solidarity affirming shared humanity and fundamental human rights.

Other featured speecheswere given by Co-Chairs, Civil Rights/Feminist/Angel Davis. Women’s Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards,Madonna, actresses Ashley Judd and.Scarlett Johansson  and director Michael Moore.At one point a group of largely women senators and other politicians took the stage together, including Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, Claire McCaskill, D-MO, and newly elected senators Kamala Harris, D-CA, and Tammy Duckworth, D-IL, who addressed the group as did Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, were also on stage.Performance were given by:Janelle Monáe, Maxwell, Angelique Kidjo, Toshi Reagon, Samantha Ronson, Emily Wells, DJ Rekha, MC Lyte, St. Beauty, Beverly Bond, Alia Sharrief, DJ Rimarkable, Amber Coffman, the Indigo Girls, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Climbing PoeTree.

I just wanted to share my story of today’s Woman’s March on Washington. I originally was supposed to call in and talk with Cheryl Jackson while she was on the air this morning, from 10a-3p., but I didn’t get a chance to do that, because I could not get service. So I had to be present in the moment, and had an unforgettable experience.

Peace and Blessings.

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