Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March in L.A.

Librarians gathering outside the central library
I've been to many political rallies, but have never participated in a protest march, even though I lived through the Vietnam War, Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush. This time, however, I've been so distressed over the presidential election results that as soon as I heard local librarians were participating in today's Women's March in downtown L.A., I signed up. Happily, Tim and Karen decided to join me, too.

Despite pouring rain yesterday and another storm predicted tomorrow, the skies were crystal clear today—surely a sign that the heavens approved of our actions. The librarian group debated what types of signs to bring and decided to promote a positive message. So early this morning I hand-wrote my sign: LIBRARIANS FOR DEMOCRACY. Certainly not as eye-catching as many of the others at the march, but well-received nonetheless, especially by librarians and their fans.

We arrived at the Culver City lightrail station at 7:30AM. And lucky, too! Not only did we get a good parking spot, we were also able to squeeze onto the first train. (We heard afterward that hundreds of riders had to wait forever to board later trains.)

Waiting on the platform to board
The librarian group arranged to meet on the garden side of the downtown central library at 8:30AM. Lots friends, colleagues and former students. At 9AM, we started to walk en masse to Pershing Square, two blocks away. After a short rally, we would march from there to City Hall. We found what we thought was a good spot to stand and staked our claim as hundreds—thousands?—of people walked by. Apparently there were rousing speeches, but we never heard any of them for all the movement and commotion on our end of the plaza. 

 More librarians ready to march

General sentiment of the crowd

 More signs

A crowd favorite


Even more signs

Channeling Obama's mantra: "Fired up! Ready to go!"
We stood and cheered and stood some more, until finally, at around 10:45AM, word spread that the streets were completely blocked with marchers. Not easily defeated, everyone spontaneously turned around and headed for Olive St. (behind us), which we all then took toward City Hall. People sang, chanted, and posed for photos. It was joyous and absolutely wonderful! A half-hour later, we arrived at City Hall.

 Back to Olive St.!

The crowd behind marching up Olive

"Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Misogyny has got to go!" (Tim with 
library poster) 

 Nearing City Hall

Thousands there ahead of us
Festivities continued till 4PM, but we left at noon, after seeing for ourselves just how crowded the streets were. The L.A. Times reported attendance at about half-a-million. And yet not one arrest was made. Just goes to show that protests can indeed be peaceful.

 Riding the train home

As soon as we got home, we put on the news to see how protests around the country—and the world—had gone. More than an estimated two million people marched today. Do the White House and Republicans even care? It seems unlikely. At around 3:30PM (our time), press secretary Sean Spicer held a brief press conference and berated the media for misrepresenting yesterday's inauguration. He then stormed out of the room without saying one word about the protests worldwide.

But that's OK. We and a million others know what happened today, because we were there. The majority will be silent no longer . . .

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