by Bridie Wilkinson
‘Ugh. It’s a pseudo-march. It’s not going to achieve anything. What’s the point?’ he said, pointedly, deliberately, loudly.
I overheard this as my friend and I were interchanging on the tube, as we were walking slowly with our placards through a packed tube tunnel, on our way to find out that no train was stopping at Bond Street due to the number of people, before we spilled out with the hundreds of others carrying signs and posters onto Oxford Street, before we became a protest, packed into the side streets of Grosvenor Square, slowly crawling forward and shouting, singing, and marching, marching for those who couldn’t, marching because we could, because we should, 100, 000 of us, because women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and human rights have been at risk for so long but now a man who is blind to it, whose privilege is so dangerously persuasive, is now running one of the most powerful countries in the world – but, what’s the point, right?
The day was historic. The energy was tangible and ferocious but the crowd were respectful and united. The 45th president’s first day in office will forever be marked by the worldwide protests held against him. That’s a pretty big achievement.
I asked two questions throughout the day: what three words would you use to describe this march? and, after, what are your next steps?
What three words would you use to describe this march?
‘Compassionate, safe, fierce’
‘Uplifting, unifying, hopeful’
‘Powerful, united, historic’
What are your next steps?
‘I’m going to put all my energy into putting good back into the world; sign up for political parties; volunteer in my local community to help young girls find their voice and be kinder to people’
‘I’m going to keep active. I’m going to be ready and engaged. I’m going to be listening and questioning more. Being here makes me know I’m not alone in this fight, and there are things I can do every day to make sure that the world becomes the place I want it to be.’
‘I’m keeping my arms open, to all genders, all races, all religions. This was not the first time and it will not be the last that I take to the streets and fight for what is right.’