Union Station was quite crowded. Lots of folks were heading down to the lower platform for the Red and Purple Lines, many more of whom were also carrying gender rights signs than not. The crowds detraining at Civic Center and Pershing Square Station were predominantly women. Many men were accompanying them, too. Others, were many singles like me and also twos and threes, like the women. I was wearing a bandana which I often wear these days to keep my increasingly broad bald forehead from dissipating heat. On Saturday, I was wearing red. It was a proclamation in itself, since over the years I have come to recognize my own feminine half as not only vital, but critical that it be recognized and strengthened. So, I am a feminist and as such felt I had to add my grit to the movement of honing the rights of women. Because of the bandana I suppose, some women acknowledged me with a smile and sometimes a greeting. A few were young and most were older, which is normal in my experience. That I am an elder weighs more it seems that gender. I must say it felt good to be recognized by those who greeted me. I felt belonged. That showing up there added up in the grand scheme of things.
Up on the street, police worked in pairs – many, with both genders – no cars consumed the marching route, so I simply fell in with the direction others were taking along Hill Street, past Grand Central Market where the revamped Angels Flight Railway across the street will save you walking down and up for a couple tacos and a beer at a stand in the market. Many were walking the space between curbs as I walked for several blocks, but it was not as jam packed as I had imagined it would be. Then, as I approached the prominent edifice of city hall, I could hear a loud loudspeaker, and when turning a corner, there they were, thousands of people jammed in front of a makeshift speaker platform at the city hall’s front door where dignitaries were adding their energies to our own presence.
Not long after the Mayor spoke some were wandering away, and I could wend my way through bodies of arms and legs and head over to high ground for a better view. The last shot is a panorama of the space under construction that is converting the area into a new city park.
This was the fourth Women’s March; the first with the President’s first year of office, and the numbers grow larger with each year. This is also the 100th year anniversary of women’s right to vote and with that a focus on the power collective action is producing. Last week, I wrote a note in my diary about an old friend who I call in my thoughts, 21st Century Woman. She listens. Then, as necessary, responds. She laughs easily because she is easily amused. That is, the weight of an idea need never be taken to calamity. She is generous in obliging others, not for friendship but from kindness. I sense whenever I am speaking with her that I am for her, on her side when fairness and truth are required. It is out of wanting the joining of hands that I say I am a feminist. Alongside my maleness is the feminine; a wish to take your hand as you reach out for another’s.
And now I am here. I know that coming together is the road to take. I want to reach out to my compatriot brothers to join in with us, and to other brothers who are learning to discover their own feminine parts to join too. But that is hard. Many of my brothers are stuck in time. Maturity for many is still at adolescence.The Gold line train pulled into Fillmore Station just a couple minutes after I swiped my card at the stand and noted the few people sitting and meandering on the platform. Normal. Uncrowded for a Saturday morning save for five or six young ladies, each with handprinted signs that proclaimed the rights of women in different ways and toughness. I was to see many more such signs as the morning progressed.
I must be like my 21st Century Woman friend, kind. Understanding. Not take a thoughtless remark personally, but see it as a habit ingrained by paternal friends over the course of many many years, if not generations. I ask my sisters to join me, for theirs is the harder chore. As I listen to my brothers and sisters, I must respond, thoughtfully, take into consideration what I wish to accomplish. Bring everyone into the fold. No one can be excluded. Everyone counts.