A photojournalist account of the historical and controversial protest
Washington, D.C. -
"This is what democracy looks like!"
It was a chant I heard countless times emanating from the crowd of hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children during the Women's March on Washington on January 20, but judging from the reactions I've seen on social media since, not everyone agrees with the assessment.
Any historical moment is going to have its controversies and this march was certainly no exception. But whether you agree with the message or not you have to admit it has certainly gotten the conversation flowing, and like any good relationship, communication is the key to success.
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Evelyn Beatrice Hall
I decided to participate in the march for many reasons, both personal and professional. As one who is especially not fond of confrontation, the decision to share my experience does not come without reservations. Taking a stand as a small business can cost you clients, and when you love those you collaborate with, that loss hurts.
On the other hand, we all have our passions, and in this country, a right to our opinions as well. Not to mention as an artist and journalist it is my job to capture a moment in time, and this moment just happened to be a little too big to pass up.
With that said, if you do decide to comment on this post, which I strongly encourage, please keep it constructive. I do warn you that not every image is G-rated in an effort to show the true nature of the march, so please use discretion if viewing at work or in front of little eyes.
Full disclosure: I do not agree 100 percent with every sign I photographed, nor do I agree with every thing that was said during the rally. I'm merely sharing my own personal experience of the protest in which I participated. Below is my photo essay recap of the 2017 Women's March on Washington.
I arrived by Metro at Union Station in Washington, D.C. at about 7 a.m. Saturday after leaving my house in Baltimore at 5 a.m. The crowds were already numerous by this point as was the security (bullet proof vests and all). After a quick bite to eat and a potty break (once a mom, always a mom), we headed past the Capitol and over to Independence Avenue where the rally was scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. We thought we found a nice spot off the main strip where we could watch the rally in relative peace, but the crowd quickly swelled leaving little room to breathe.
Due to the stifling circumstances described above, my party decided to leave the rally scene and head over to the National Mall, where marchers unable to get a spot for the rally were already prepping their marching shoes. Able to move more freely and get a better vantage point on the top of the stairs at the National Gallery of Art, I was awe-struck by the amount of people coming from every direction, filling the National Mall like sand through an hourglass.
While white women of every age were the majority I was happy to see an abundance of men and children on the scene. I would have liked to have seen more minority men and women represented, and I've unfortunately heard stories since that describe instances of exclusive behavior on the part of white women towards their black sisters. If the march had one failure to speak of, in my opinion, the relative lack of minority representation was probably it.
There was definitely a sense of anger, especially reflected in the signs carried by some marches. There were also differences of opinion on more than one occasion that I saw, but no one is going to agree 100 percent of the time anyway. What's important is the way in which we conduct ourselves during said discussion, and for the most part, that was achieved on January 20.
"We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another - until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices." - Richard M. Nixon
On the whole the vibe was very positive and uplifting and I'm glad I participated. I don't think the march changed the world overnight, but even the largest tree in the forest begins life as a tiny seed in the ground.
It's hard to say what change, if any, such a march will bring going forward. I think most of the marchers realize the protest was not an end-all, be-all proposition and that more work is needed if real change is to be effected.
Were you at the march? What did you think? Share your comments and photos below.