|This eye witness account from D.C. is by Carol Evans, National Co-Chair and Co-Founder of Executive Women for Her.|
Executive Women for Her (previously Executive women for Hillary) is dedicated to getting executive, professional and entrepreneurial women out of their offices and spreadsheets and into the political fray where they can use their skills, influence, networks and money to support the progressive agenda in the U.S.
I am buoyant.
I am light as a feather.
I am floating on clouds looking down at enormous crowds of women in their pink Pussy hats with their homemade signs. Some have their kids by their side. Many men have joined the crowds of women. The women and men are speaking all the languages of the world because they are gathering in cities all around the world. The marchers are many shades of skin, many ages, many different capabilities, many shapes and heights.
They are all wearing sensible shoes. The crowd where I was standing was in Washington DC, apparently 9 long blocks from the rally stage. Nine long blocks filled with so many people that when a space larger than a breadbox opened up we all cheered. When one of our EW4H members couldn't stand anymore we put one of our signs on the street so she could sit and rest. Strangers and friends formed a ring around her to make sure she was safe. Michael Moore was speaking and we loved his raspy words. Ashley Judd spoke and we cheered her rapping poem. After that the sound system started to fail us and we could only hear occasional speeches. The tall ones among us caught a glimpse of the Jumbotron from time to time and reported back to the short ones what they saw on stage:
"Kirsten Gillibrand is wearing a very bright pink suit."
"I think it's so and so but I'm not sure."
We didn't know Madonna was speaking or swearing but I loved this tweet about what she said: "Madonna said the F word? Don't worry about it--That's just women's locker room talk!" We wanted to start marching at 1:00 but the indistinguishable words kept coming so we enjoyed the women around us and ate our snacks.
We dared not drink water!
By 2:00 we were way past our ability to stand still anymore. Our merry band decided to move forward in the direction we were supposed to march but we didn't get very far. The crush of people was even denser in that direction.
"March Now/ March Now/ March Now," we all chanted. But there was no marching yet. Our muscles and our brains wanted action but the crowd didn't move. Someone came by and told us that the march WAS beginning at the front of the massive crowd but that it would take a half hour before that movement would catch up to us! Mind you, we were NOT anywhere near the back of the ocean of people. We were somewhere in the middle. Then we did begin to move. 5 feet. 10 feet. We turned the corner and found a street and a mall of grass that could hold lots of us and we were truly marching.
Do you know what dem-o-cracy looks like? This is what dem-o-cracy looks like!
Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights!
And we were singing!
This land is your land this land is my land
From California to the New York island! If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the mor-or-ning
I'd hammer in the eev-ning
All over this la-and.
I was surprised that the songs we sang when I marched on the capital in 1972 were still so popular but I knew all the words and all the verses so I was happy. When we turned that corner I unfurled my 12 foot H I L L A R Y unity banner which had been quietly waiting in my Hillary tote bag. I unfurled her (my banner is a girl) and we stretched it across the street and carried it with abandon. When we finally saw the Washington Monument everyone stopped marching and paused to take iconic pictures of ourselves in twos and fours and groups and families. The monument seemed to be reassuring us that one man cannot take down what our forefathers and their very smart wives built.
Not without a huge fight! The women in our group who care about consequences started to urge the less responsible ones that now was a good time to head back to the subway to go back to the bus to get back to New York. The less mature of us were very reluctant to leave and I started wishing I could stay, feeling the party had just begun. But the mature ones prevailed and we were heading back to the subway when--low and behold--a final special sweet treat appeared before us: Trump International Hotel. I couldn't believe my good fortune and begged for a bit of extra party time.
Granted. The marchers were leaving their signs against the police fencing that was protecting the hotel. It looked like a memorial to what we had lost on Friday, January 20. With my 12 foot banner wrapped around me I took my sign to the police fencing and wove it into the fence that was closest to the hotel entrance.
My sign was not poetic or clever or loving.
It was a cut-to-the-chase call to action kind of sign: Impeach Him Now.
The crowd that was gathering in front of Trump's violation of the emoluments clause cheered my sign and chanted Impeach Him Now for several glorious moments. The bus ride home was swift as we all ate chocolate, drank copious amounts of water and talked about the hard work ahead of us of saving the world from Donald Trump. We reveled in the news that we were an enormous crowd of 1,000,000 in DC, joined by 500,000 in New York and 129,000 in St. Paul and 100,000 in Denver and 750,000 in Los Angeles and 2000 in Poughkeepsie for God's sake! And thousand and thousands more in London, Istanbul, Paris, Oslo, Sydney and all around the world.
And 42 in Antarctica! We showed up and we stood up for our great gender. For our progress. For our rights. For our love and for our commitment. For our strength and for our pride. And because we will not go back. We will only go forward. We have much to do to find our way to the future that we want to live into, and away from the future that we feared on Friday. We will reclaim a progressive agenda for America on the strength of this great day of unity. And we know it will not be sure or comfortable. It will not happen without sacrifice, dedication, coordination, determination and some measure of genius.
But for a moment or two we can pause and feel the buoyancy, the lightness. We can revel in the joy of our power and our numbers and our community and our allies and our new future.
And our pink Pussy hats.
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