I had planned on telling the horse story today, thinking that it was time to write about something inspiring, but there were so may requests for details on yesterday’s protest in NYC that it became clear that I should share a few photos from the day. A day that was also inspiring. (I took some and Don took a whole heck of a lot more, because he loves doing that and my phone’s battery was losing its charge.) By the way, he missed his calling. He should be a photojournalist because he has such a great eye. Extraordinary pictures.
We took the train into NY because the train arrives at Grand Central, where we could take the subway directly to Union Square, the staging area. Union Square is on 14th Street. We gathered under a statue of Abraham Lincoln.
As we stood there, more and more and more people arrived. News cameras were everywhere. We started the first of many, many conversations with fellow marchers – conversations that would continue throughout the day.
One woman touched our hearts. She was elderly, very petite, and wearing purple, including a purple beret. As we started to talk to her, she started crying. She was born in France, you see. Her parents lived through the horrors of World War II. She was a very small child during the war. This election and the rhetoric being spewed, she said, reminded her of that time. She was so lovely. She told us that she has four children who live all over the world and they are also protesting. We took pictures of her and emailed them to her last night after we got home.
I don’t want to show you her face because I didn’t ask permission. But there she is, walking just ahead of us. She was my inspiration yesterday, as was my nephew. (That’s the Empire State Building on the left.)
Around 1:30, we made the turn onto Fifth Avenue and 17th Street and we began the march up Fifth Avenue to our eventual destination: Trump Tower at 56th and Fifth Avenue. We were near the first column of marchers and we had no idea how many people were behind us. It wasn’t until we were around 48th Street or so, where there was a slight rise in the road, that we could look back and see the sea of people following us. Thousands and thousands. It took my breath away.
The marchers stretched out for several blocks, as far as the eye could see.
The crowd was comprised of every age; from the elderly walking with canes, to toddlers being pushed in strollers. Every ethnicity. Every sexual orientation. We wore safety pins that had been passed out to us in Union Square. Everyone was polite, gregarious, and focused.
Someone implied yesterday in the comments that the marchers would be limited to the young. That they would use bad language. Basically, a lot of assumptions based on…what? I don’t know. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was surrounded by all ages; everyone kind, everyone passionate, everyone – to a person – lovely and friendly. Love was everywhere. That only the young feel passionately enough about issues to march is ridiculous. Or that there is some sort of unspoken ‘you don’t belong here’ coming from them? – completely ridiculous. I cannot tell you how many conversations I had with people of all ages. It was inspiring.
And there was Michael Moore. He had either just done his Facebook Live or was about to do it. We didn’t know about that at the time because we were marching. But I found out about it when I got home. A Michigander, I might add, so I’m doubly proud of him.
If you are worried that millennials aren’t engaged enough in the election and the political process, let me assure you, they are. I was heartened and encouraged by their passion and I saw it everywhere yesterday. They will make their mark in the future. They’re starting now.
All in all, we walked about 40 blocks until we arrived at the intersection of 56th and Fifth. That tall building is Trump Tower. Believe me, we were heard. I could see workers in the luxury stores on Fifth Avenue standing at the window and applauding us. Double decker tour buses full of tourists cheered us. It was inspiring. People were stopped along the sidewalks taking pictures and applauding.
The march was peaceful. It had been organized as a peaceful march and everyone respected that. I never felt unsafe. Not for a minute. In fact, it was a community, a community gathered together to make their voices heard. One of the chants yesterday: “This is what democracy looks like.”
The police were polite and professional and we thanked them for their service whenever we had the opportunity.
It was the most inspiring day. We were also exhausted at the end of the day! But it was worth it. We edged our way out of the crowd around 4:00 because we were lucky to be where right at the intersection of 56th and Fifth and thought more marchers should get a chance to see what was happening there. We walked back down Fifth Avenue so we could witness the size of the crowd.
Then we found our way back to Grand Central Station and headed for the train.
When I arrived home I learned that a family member of a close friend of mine was subject to a hate crime yesterday. And I heard the anguish and fear in my friend’s voice on social media.
So I’ll continue to march and, more importantly, take action.
That was my day yesterday. Thanks to Don for urging me to get off my butt yesterday morning and go to Manhattan. I was the one who originally told him about it, but I was tired and not awake and I needed his energy to get me going. It was worth it.
Tomorrow: The horse story. It will leave you feeling good about those who protect and help our animal friends.