Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism
at Brandeis University
i n v e s t i g a t i o n s
Narrative | Women's March
Connie Glore: Women's March on Washington D.C.
at logan airport in Boston there is a funny, surprising, pink profusion of kitty cat hats. I meet 3 generations, all knitted by Madeline for herself, her daughter, and her tender granddaughter. transparent backpacks reveal all.this is personal but not private anymore.
the scene in Washington on the train to l’enfant plaza is crushed. I link arms with Susan from Georgia, short but not tiny, a 1970’s graduate from Stanford, who majored in political science. She is not tired from an all-night bus but her friend is so tired after traveling all these years, black in a white man’s country.
we hold her up, too, because we suspect that the child nearby who is saying, “we are so close that we cannot fall,” may not know what we know.yes, there is still enough space to fall so we stick together and that works. it works.
it is 30 minutes of cheering and chanting in the station before we see the light and climb out to the street where a broad, pink river is piping itself, pumping like blood, toward the rally. no one knows the name of the street(there are no street signs. why is that? I am suspicious) or if the direction is right. I find this perplexing and finally meet a native Washingtonian out on a lunch break who says we are all headed the wrong way. that could be her point of view. I listen and hear distant cheers and go that way because I trust myself.
the mall is cemented in place. those that arrived at 8am or earlier may be near the stage but the sea of pink, and posters, and enthusiasm only moves like sludge to no advantage. cell phones are no longer reliable. Karen and I do not connect. Emily is here somewhere. I move away from the slowly congealing mass toward a distant monitor and find my spot.
the feed on the screen is wacky. voices are not able to keep up with gestures but the word is coming through anyway. primal screams keep erupting through the crowd like squalls. Scarlett Johansson’s feed to the screen is perfect. she is speaking the truth. she is leading. planned parenthood is under her great protective wings. determined women. fierce women. angry women. Ashley Judd is raging from the stage but she is in control. oh, so much control. you will have to kill the chickens to get the eggs now.
there is a poster. a smiling and good young man is holding it. “I can make my own damn sandwich.” his name is Jonathan. I text his message out to the world.
so many pink kitty cat hats. how much education must have had to happen due to the carnage of donald trump. parents had to take on that lesson.sexism, misogyny, violence against women. bodies, anatomy, who owns your body. who wants your body and for what. 77 cents on the dollar and less if you are black and less if you are hispanic. and whoa to the parents who did not educate their children before the march. fallopian tubes and the p word everywhere and the boy’s poster. “Hi. I am from vagina. Where are you from?” is not a frat joke anymore because we are all on the same bus now.
a poster says, “I can never forgive someone who bullies girls.”
and the women are here. a poster says, “so many women. you’ve never seen so many women. so many women.” and the lens backs up into the dark space and sees the tiny globe, the earth is glowing, lit up by so many women, marching, screaming in guttural exaltations of birth. and the men and children are screaming, too.
and it is chilling. so many warm-hearted women linked arm in arm. a phalanx. an army of love and togetherness and protection and
power. female power. saying No.
Connie Glore lives in West Boxford Massachusetts, and submitted this creative essay for our microsite. (Styled with intentional by author)
Mei-Mei Ellerman: Women's March on Washington D.C.
“I marched in DC. It was one of the extraordinary experiences of my life- had participated in all the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, including one that ended up at the Pentagon.
The peaceful spirit combined with strong call to action, the sense of unity and as Karin said, the kindness and respect towards everyone, were unsurpassed.
The numbers alone are staggering, when you consider not only the US but the marches worldwide.
Most impressive was the absence of any discourtesy let alone violence. Despite the feisty opposition and speaking truth to power in no uncertain terms, the dominant tone was one of joy, celebrating togetherness. Women [and supportive men!] are a worldwide force with whom to reckon, a revolutionary force.”
Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center