Michelle Brier and her daughter at the Women's March in New York, January 21.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK CITY - We stood shoulder to shoulder on 42nd Street, astounded at the view: as far as we could see, thousands of people packed every side street, every corner, every intersection. We had been standing in the crowd for more than two hours and hadn't moved more than a few feet. The crowds were much larger than expected, volunteers told us. There was simply no place for people to go. And people were everywhere! They were pink-hatted, sign-waving, foot stomping, baby-pushing, drum-beating, cheer-chanting people, now turned activists. Because that's what they were, what we were. Everyone who took to the streets today, in New York, in Washington, in Chicago, in a dozen cities across the country and around the world, had made the decision to stand up and speak out.
The message was simple, even if it was delivered in many different ways. Women's rights are human rights. And no one in the crowd was willing to trust the new president to protect those rights.
My 17 year old daughter and I were struck by the hopeful tone of the crowd. Every few minutes a wild cheer would erupt from some corner of the pack and like a tidal wave, it rushed over us all. The shouting was joyful. The chanting was playful. No one was angry. No one was threatening. No one was despondent.
The overwhelming feeling at the Women's March in my city today was one of determination. There was a single-mindedness and fierce sense of purpose that could be felt block by block.
My daughter asked me, casually, why we had never gone to anything like this before. And then, without waiting for my reply, she said, "Right, we never needed to do this before, never needed to speak out like this before."
Women's March New York (Aaron Segal)
But today we, and so many other people, waited and walked, chanted and danced, waved signs and posted photos because we simply feel this is the time, this is the moment, this is what determination feels like and looks like.
Someone, near the sidelines on 5th Avenue, was singing a song from the insanely popular musical, Hamilton. "History has its eyes on you." There were a lot of signs with that slogan, aimed at the new president, but what struck me was that history has its eyes on us, all of us. Right now. What we do, and what we stand up for.
Women's rights, human rights, justice, equality.
And standing in that crowd today, surrounded by so many determined people, I couldn't help but think, let history watch us now.