Saturday I went to the Women’s March in Chicago, along with, at today’s count, at least 250,000 other people. Earlier in the week I remember thinking, “Wow, they’re expecting 20,000 people, that’s amazing."
I was pretty nervous about going to the march because I was worried about getting harassed by the police, or, worse, arrested. I don’t like big crowds and, yeah, my preferred way to spend Saturday morning is in my jammies, with coffee, talking on the phone to my sister. But I went ready to fight - ready to be harassed and ready to harass. What happened instead was thousands of women and men - the elderly and babies, racially diverse people, my trans sisters and brothers - filled the streets of downtown Chicago and then proceeded to take care of each other. I’ve never heard so many excuse mes, thank yous, look out for that pothole, careful, watch your step. I love your hat, I love your sign, I love your energy.
We couldn’t hear the speakers, we couldn’t see the stage. Hell, we didn’t even know where the stage was, but the thick crowd of people around us, just east of the bridge on Jackson, cheered when a cheer wave came our way, joined in whenever someone started a chant, and, my favorite, sang along with two African American women who started singing Lean On Me. As we turned around and eventually moved into the loop, we happily followed them singing and pointing out potholes. Pockets of protesters were out all day - we saw a group of students walking down Michigan Avenue around 3pm, shouting My Body, My Choice, although what really warmed my heart was the male voices in the crowd yelling HER Body, HER Choice.
For the first time since this horrible human being was elected, I felt more hope than fear. I saw creativity and humor and love as powerful agents of change. I saw women taking the word he used to brag about sexual assault and turn it into a strength. We’re going to get through this, we cannot fail.
Thank you to all the people that made the day so great.
Thank you to my friends who travelled to DC.
Thank you, Chicago bike police, for being cool.
Thank you, dudes who support women’s rights.Thank you, Chicago, for restoring my faith in humanity.