Monday, April 26, 2004

March For Women's Lives, Part 1

I left early Saturday morning to drive down to D.C. with my friends J. & M. M. was photographing the March, so he had a hotel room & gas paid for by Planned Parenthood. I had been hoping to attend but had not had a chance to work out logistics, so it was very generous of J. & M. to include me! The day was gorgeous - tank-top weather, a day to break out the new halter top. We stopped for coffee & TCBY and arrived at our hotel a few hours later.

M. left for an organizational meeting while J. & I set out to explore. Museums were out due to the beautiful weather, so we wandered over to the Mall to see what it was like before the march. On our way, we saw many women - and some men - who were helping set up or just looking around like us, many wearing t-shirts that said, "This is what a feminist looks like." Finding t-shirts like that became a mission. Some nice folks pointed us in the direction of a storefront at F & 12th, headquarters of one of the sponsoring organizations (NARAL, I think). They had lots of yellow & purple signs, t-shirts, and posters, but nothing quite what we were looking for. I asked another woman where she had gotten her t-shirt, and so we headed next for a gathering in Dupont Circle.

Finding Dupont Circle was an endeavor. Being optimistic and caught up in the heady atmosphere of the weekend, we were travelling without a map. This forced us to talk to people, and the directions we got were correct, though a bit confusing. Just when we thought we'd gone hopelessly off-course, we ran into a large group of young college students who seemed to be headed in the same direction. We walked with them for a while, but split off after realizing we'd all just gone on a long detour!

Eventually, with the help of several friendly DC residents, we arrived in Dupont Circle to find a large number of pink-t-shirted women, a smaller number of gaping bare-chested men, tents where people could get information about rape crisis hotlines and the rape survivor t-shirt project (lots of painted t-shirts on display). Interesting stuff, but it was closing down, and no sign of the shirts we wanted. We basked on a bench for a while, watching the men watch the women. *grin* We left after the beginning of a Take Back the Night Rally, and made our way back to our hotel.

From there it was dress-up & dinner & a glorious sunset in Georgetown. Dinner was excellent - I cheated a little on my vegetarianism and ate seafood. M. rejoined us; he was originally slated to photograph a party at Nancy Pelosi's apartment (we saw the party from the street in Georgetown - nice place, great views of the river) but it turned out that photographers were not allowed.

M. left in the grey light of dawn on Sunday to photograph people arriving on buses from around the country. J. & I slept in and ordered breakfast. Nothing like french toast to start off a day of political demonstrations! Of course, I'll be eating nothing but rice for a week as a result of the room service bill..... We left for the Mall around 11 or so, falling in with more and more marchers as we approached. I took a picture of a family of three generations - grandmother from NJ, mother & two little girls from Seattle - carrying a handmade sign that read, "If Jenna needed a choice she'd have one. So should we all." The day's first accusation of Republican/pro-life/Bush hypocrisy!

We arrived on the Mall and started weaving through the crowd towards an area of tents where we thought we might find the elusive "This is what a feminist looks like" t-shirts, not to mention some signs to carry. Signs were easy: I got a pink Planned Parenthood sign reading "Reproductive Justice for All" and J. got a NARAL purple & yellow sign reading "Who Decides?" T-shirts were a-plenty, and we even found the feminist t-shirts, but they were out of all reasonable sizes. I got a "Rock for Choice" t-shirt and decided to get the other one on-line in my size.

Suitably attired & postered (& buttoned & stickered), we kept moving towards the March stage at the foot of the Washington Monument. We got pretty close thanks to persistence, held up our signs, and heard many interesting people speak in the hour or so before the march began marching. A small group of Republicans for Choice who were standing near us were soon joined by a large parade of Republicans for Choice. A few people called out, "Put your vote where your mouth is!" J. & I giggled at their slightly horrified expressions when a spoken-word poet took the stage with a piece about living in cunt-land (imagine the search terms that will now lead to my blog...). Then again, any number of the Democrats for Choice were probably mildly horrified as well! I hope those Republican women succeed in making change within their own party - and I hope their daughters become Democrats! LOL.

That's all for now... more tomorrow.


Blogger Aaron said...

I think you are a very adventurous person, I think your friend is definitively a very kind person, and I know you will remember forever this experience. By the way I also love TCBY ice cream but I can not combine it with sildenafil because it is too fatty.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

It is great that there are such events but sometimes people who are busy with it overdo

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10:15 AM  

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