Wednesday, October 14, 2009

National Equality March

October 11, 2009.
Pictures here:

Commentary in the form of an email conversation between me & my mom...

[My mom] wrote:

Very nice! You certainly have the prettiest sign there! Where did you make that? Did you bring it home with you? It looks like you had a great day. Who were you staying with? I know you said, but I have a terrible memory. Was that the person walking along with you?

I'm glad it was a peaceful march. I guess you might have gotten more attention if there had been trouble, but the whole idea is about love and ending hate and all, so peaceful makes more sense. Have you heard any good estimates about the number of people there? I noticed some "straights against hate" kinds of signs--were there lots of those, or just a few? Did you get to talk to interesting people, or was it enough to just be there with them all?

Sorry about all the questions! And thanks for the pictures!
Love, Mom

[Audrey] wrote:
I made the sign Saturday night...we went by WalMart on the way to Kiera's place & picked up some posterboard & Crayola markers. And I just sat around for a few hours & worked on it. I made Kiera's sign too - much simpler but still effective; it said "Will Work for Equal Rights" with "Equal Rights" big & rainbow-y. Yes, Kiera is the person walking with us.

Estimates for number of people range from 150,000 to 250,000. My friend Mark said the march in '94 - that he went to - was 300K...but this one was thrown together on a $200K budget in five months with NO marketing beyond viral internet stuff, in a lousy economy, so I think it's pretty impressive. The organizers (about 30 of them) had figured on 100K people, so it was a raging success on that count.

There were quite a few straight people watching, which I thought was really awesome. Lots of "Straight but not narrow" signs, and one interracial straight couple marching near us had a sign saying something like "50 years ago our marriage would have been illegal too," which I thought was cool & hopeful-looking. The whole march was VERY family-oriented. Lots of kids marching with their moms or dads; lots of couples marching together. There were also quite a few gay ex-service people who got burned by Don't Ask Don't Tell - not my thing, but still really awesome. I talked to a few people from all over - I had this idea to include lots of people saying where they were from in a video montage but I got too busy marching to record much footage. We were standing near a whole group from Utah; I talked to them a little bit. Mostly, though, it was just being there. It was like everyone knew each other already - not names & life stories, but didn't need to. People would just start talking randomly, and lots of people were running around with cameras like me, just running up to people & saying, "Can I take your picture?!" and snapping a shot & running off. It was this wonderful sense of community. Even with all those people, I never felt closed in or unsafe. If people stopped for whatever reason during the march, the crowd just flowed around them. Everyone was really really happy & calm but still with this undercurrent of charged excitement, like things can change & were changing and we don't have to be nasty to get what we want, just firm. So yeah, it was peaceful in the sense that no one was fighting, but in terms of energy, it was anything but. It was more like we just didn't need to fight - there were enough of us that anyone against us just didn't matter. And that sense of community just hung around all afternoon. Walking back to the car, everyone we saw was from the march and we'd all wave to each other or cheer at each other or whatever.

And please, question! It's great! I like it when people ask questions. :D

No comments: