Reflections on the Boston Women’s March

On January 21, 2017, over five million people around the globe joined together to celebrate women in unity and to protest a hateful government. From Atlanta to Antarctica, and Washington to Rome, colorful signs and in-sync chants could be seen and heard as the streets of various cities were flooded with bodies. I had the utmost pleasure of attending Boston’s own Women’s March, and it was a tremendously moving experience, to say the least.

 

Among 175,000 people, I was corralled into the Boston Common. My only qualms with the event were that A.) I hadn’t eaten anything in precisely 24 hours (entirely my own fault), and B.) I needed to use the bathroom for 5 of those hours. Arriving at 11:00 AM, I met up with a friend and we entered the Common. We followed the loudspeaker noise until we were in earshot of the stage, where a plethora of speakers, activists and politicians were sharing their inspiring words with, at that time, 100,000 people. My height was certainly not an advantage as we were making out way through the gargantuan mass. Music was playing as I asked my friend, “why does everyone have pink hats on?” Confusion was his response as well. There was no cell service, and although we knew a multitude of attendees, we couldn’t get in touch with them. We tried our best to keep up with news from the Women’s March on Washington, reloading CNN and the NY Times as often as our iPhone browsers could handle.

 

Inspiration and hope poured out of the speakers’ mouths and into the microphone. “And next on the mic… Elizabeth Warren!” Cheers followed, and I heard a man shout, “Elizabeth Warren?! I love her!” and run closer towards the stage. Her speech was animated and moving. After several other voices were heard, the crowd, which was growing from 120,000 protesters upwards, was getting restless. People began shouting that we should just march already, right?! Well, we did.

 

All moving at a snail’s pace, down Beacon street, turning onto Arlington, and from Com. Ave back to the Public Garden. I must admit, once I actually got onto the route I quickly moved to a side street to find a public restroom (which was no easy feat). I watched on an enormous screen the sheer hope and wittiness of my fellow marchers. The signs were my driving force as we moved one foot every several minutes, my favorite of those stating “Super Callous Fascist Racist Extra Braggadocios.” Reflecting on the march, I am so incredibly honored to have been a part of such a historic event. I question critics of the movement because this was a space fueled with such positivity and hope, I could not have asked for a more memorable experience.

Deirdre Irvine

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