One of my favorite parts of the No Hate in DC rally was when people asked me “What’s the E.R.A?” (https://www.equalrightsamendment.org/) and I got to tell them that sadly all genders aren’t currently protected under the Constitution, but we only need one more state to ratify!! People from Virginia apologized for not having already ratified, but it was so cool because they could call their reps and do something about it directly! This feeling of organizing-within-organizing made me feel so optimistic, happy, and powerful, and I plan to carry the Equal Rights Amendment around more often.
As the group (estimates had the count at around two thousand) started to migrate over to the side of the park where the march would start, a couple of the communist and socialist groups began to form a march in the opposite direction. I caught a glimpse at the (white lady) Refuse Fascism speaker at whom I’d yelled “Stop suppressing votes!” when she’d launched into a “both parties are the same” tirade at Philly’s immensely successful demonstration against Family Separation during Mike Pence’s visit a couple months ago. (https://www.phillyvoice.com/pence-in-philly-hundreds-protest-march-rittenhouse/) Telling a crowd of mostly brown and black people not to vote is a good way to become my nemesis for life, but I wouldn’t let seeing this character disrupt my sense of unity.
|(Not the nemesis lady)|
Antsy to march, Amy and I joined the smaller march, but a guy in a yellow safety vest told us that it was a splinter group, and that the Charlottesville contingency, Black Lives Matter, and other groups would be leaving in a few minutes. After marching with the splinter march for about a half-block, the phrase “hired by Russia to make the main protest march seem smaller” popped up in my mind. It’s funny/sad that such a paranoid-sounding phrase can also be totally sensible. (For a good insight on how ground-level Russian interference works: https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/curious-case-russian-flash-mob-west-palm-beach-cheesecake-factory/)
We rested in the shade for a few minutes then went back to the main group. Black Lives Matter was out front, with other groups getting into formation behind them/us. Fox News came by and the crowd erupted into boos and chants of “Black Lives Matter!” I feel so incredibly lucky whenever I get to chant that.
(Awkward aside: Earlier in the day we’d come across a group of white ladies about my age chanting in celebration of Heather Heyer and happily moved over to join them, until I realized they were chanting “Say Her Name!” I sidled away, not knowing how to feel, but knowing that Say Her Name is for women of color and even the most wonderful, heroic, martyred gift of a white woman can’t have it. For a great resource about the #Sayhername movement, you can go here: http://www.aapf.org/sayhernamereport/)
Finally, the march got underway. I loved the way that “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” reverberated off of the fancy columned buildings, the way “Whose streets? Our streets!” felt true on so many levels.
Next time, sobbing in the march with joy and love.