The Women’s March on Washington D.C.
On January 21, 2017 the Women’s March took place all over the United States. I was in Washington D.C. during this time, so naturally as a photojournalist I decided to show up.
The I will have to say that is was an honor to be at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. The first place to start will always be Union Station, being that people are coming off of buses and trains from all over the United States to be there. From Union Station, you can always follow everyone else to any demonstration downtown.
Being that I was present for the inauguration, I will have to say that there were far more people who arrived for this Women’s March than the Inauguration. The number of people marching on Washington was ridiculous; for the first time I’ve ever seen, my phone (and everyone else’s) lost connection due to the amount of cellphones in one location. As a claustrophobic fellow, there were types where I couldn’t move or couldn’t breathe. The streets were just that packed.
While the women there were smoking majority American, there was numerous people who arrived from other countries. In fact, foreign press was also on the scene. People, and varied press, came from locations such as Germany, France, United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, China, Japan, Ethiopia and Israel. Later on I learned that there were mirrored Women’s Marches in other countries as well. This wasn’t just a national event — this was an international event.
An Abolitionist’s Wish
I really do wish that this many people — white, black, it doesn’t matter — showed up when black people get murdered by state sanctioned violence. In talking to the Anti-Fascists, they are more than willing to connect with black community leader, black activists and protest leaders and are standing by for, practically, black leadership to dismantle institutional racism. Will millions of (white) women do the same?
I’m not going to lie; this march was pretty damn genius. I don’t know who it was, but someone developed a hat or piece of headgear that symbolizes the women’s struggle. This headgear either had explicit cat-ears on it, or was simplistically cut and sewn with blocky corners for where the cat ears would be. I’m going to have to admit that that headgear was a genius invention. As many folks learned from black protest of the yesteryear, perhaps we should take a play out of their playbook for tomorrow. Being that I saw many police officers who wore this hat, could it be possible to place a pro/cop-accountability hat on these officers? Fascinating thought. A murderous-cop-needs-prison-time hat? One can wish.
There were many white women in attendance who had “Black Lives Matter” signs. Being able to say the words is a huge leap. A huge first step. However, are these white women compelled to show us how? Will these white women bring their might in numbers to aid in protecting black women, for example? While I saw numerous “Black Lives Matter” signs and shirts, does any of those white women know the name, “Sandra Bland”? How come I didn’t see Sandra Bland’s name anywhere? When it comes to intersectionality there’s always the risk that the fears and struggles of the minority will be drowned by the majority. Many white women fear speaking on racism. Many of these same white women with these shirts and signs, fear discussion on how they still exist under white privilege. Many of the struggles the white woman places on the chopping block are still struggles, yes, but does abortion rights stack higher than the fear of being murder by an officer of the law on trigger-finger reflex? I’m not saying that one should totally toss out their fight, but it can be said that when black people prosper, everyone prospers. Aiding black women — black people — actually helps whites by default.
It would be great if this many people showed up when black people are practically begging for their lives. Will a million white women — or even a thousand — show up in the defense of black women? I always maintained that white women’s feminism is a large appropriation of how black women function. With that being said, when will white women return the respect? Return the favor? Use their inherent white privilege as white women, against the system?