Saturday morning, I had the pleasure in taking part of the Tucson leg of the Women's March on Washington. It was a last-minute decision between my sister and I. We were both getting over illnesses and the weather was supposed to be terrible, but we rallied anyway. We both agreed that our conscious' would haunt us if we didn't try.
It was raining, actually hailing at one point, and remarkably cold for Tucson, but that didn't seem to hinder turn-out. My sister lives relatively close to the route, so we parked at her place and walked over. It was amazing getting closer and closer to the beginning of the march path and realizing everyone around us was heading to the same place. At the starting point, we slowly gathered the rest of our party of six. It ended up being me, my sister, my sister's friend, my sister's friend's male coworker, my sister's friend's mom, and one of my sister's high school teachers. We were a motley crew but it turned out to be a great, little bunch.
In the grand scheme of things, we were unprepared. We were cold and wet, but more importantly, we weren't wearing any pink or had any knit hats.
I don't know what the projected attendance number was, but the estimation of final count was above 15,000. It must have been much larger than expected because everything happened much slower than scheduled. And that was ok. The march was a slow crawl through downtown, but fortunately the route was fairly short. It gave us plenty of time to chant with strangers and read punny signs.
Going in, I really didn't know what to expect. Honestly, I had no clue. And in hindsight, that was the right way to go. It ended up being thousands of people who were tired and fed up, but positive and proactive. I saw old classmates from high school. I saw a coworker. I saw young children and their parents and their parents' parents. I saw a troop of girl scouts who sang their little song as they walked. We followed behind a woman probably in her sixties wearing a sandwich board of protest signs, a Viking helmet, banging on a tambourine. There was such a sense of comradery. After the walk, three of us grabbed lunch in a cafe downtown filled with other marchers. Even though we were done at that point, many people were still checking in on the other marches across the country. Update after update of how almost every march in the country was underestimated. That they couldn't even march in Washington D.C. because there were too many people.
I don't know what I expected to get out of attending the march, but I feel like I got so much out of it. A purely peaceful protest demonstrating that there was still a large section of the population who wasn't just going to sit back and let the bullies win. In spite of being called 'sore losers' or being told to 'be hopeful' that things might still be ok, we were still ready for action. We would be vigilant. We would be watching.