Saturday was emotional, thrilling, exciting, tiring, and most of all, unbelievably inspiring. More than 12,000 people RSVPed on Facebook to come to the various Walk for Choice events happening around the nation and the globe. Here’s what my day was like.
I woke up around 9:30, already riding an adrenaline high in anticipation of the day ahead. This is the first time I’ve ever properly protested. In college, I worked for the newspaper, where the conflict-of-interest policy prevented us from attending protests as anything other than unbiased press. I made a cup of coffee and hopped onto Tumblr to see if there were any photos coming in from the protests going on in other time zones.
There were already a bunch – and they were fantastic. The night before, I had been reblogging photos of the signs people were making to bring with them. On Saturday, I saw them out on the streets. It was so surreal looking at things I had seen online the day before. Someone sent me a picture of the five counter-protesters who showed up in Gainesville. They were all men carrying signs about “lost fatherhood” and all that bullshit. As I wrote on my blog: ejaculating does not make you a father. Sorry, guys.
I was supposed to give a friend a ride to the rally. She was running late, so I didn’t get on the subway until noonish. My fiance (Joe) and I got to Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles around 12:30. At first, I didn’t see anyone, and I was like, “Shit. I am the only damn person who showed up.” Fortunately, people were on the other side of the park. A lot of people. Thankfully, I found Kat, another LA organizer. Someone had thoughtfully brought a bullhorn. I gave a quick speech, which Joe put on YouTube:
It was a perfect day outside. The forecast had predicted rain and even snow, but it was sunny and gorgeous. I took a bunch of pictures of just the architecture and scenery downtown. If there is a God, obviously they are also pro-choice.
I met Carol King, who wrote about Walk for Choice for Ms. Magazine. There were other journalists there as well, from the CSU Sundial and SexIs Magazine. We all started marching around 12:45. We walked to the Los Angeles City Hall, where we joined up with a few hundred people who were there for MoveOn.org’s labor rally. They acknowledged we were there, and we got everyone chanting “PRO-UNION PRO CHOICE!” It was phenomenal.
After about 45 minutes of listening to speeches and cheering, we rounded up the Walk for Choice people and marched back to Pershing Square. Joe and I were running around taking pictures and introducing ourselves. AFter returning to Pershing Square, we were all so jazzed from the cars honking and bystanders cheering that we decided to do the original walking route around downtown. I lead the charge. It was so surreal for me. There I was, at the front of a crowd of empowered people of all genders and ages and races, chanting and rallying for our reproductive rights. We walked up Grand Avenue to the Disney Concert Hall, past the LA Times on 1st Street, past City Hall again, and ended at Barbara Boxer’s office. Barbara Boxer is one of our senators, as well as one of the people who started StopHR3.com. She’s a total badass. Here we are on the steps of the LA Courthouse, where her office is located:
(By this point, we’d lost a few people, so this isn’t the whole LA crowd. We had a couple hundred people at one point – it was awesome!)
After that, Joe & I took the subway home. We got off at Hollywood & Highland, where they were setting up the red carpet for the Oscars. It was so surreal. I was dirty (somehow black ink from my purse got onto my new orange shirt??) and tired, but mostly proud. It was a beautiful day.
Did you attend Walk for Choice in your city? Did you make signs? I want to hear everyone’s experiences!