Photo Set 1 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294653.php
Photo Set 2 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294673.php
Photo Set 3 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294693.php
Photo Set 4 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294713.php
Photo Set 5 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294733.php
Photo Set 6 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294753.php
Photo Set 7 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294773.php
Photo Set 8 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294793.php
Photo Set 9 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294813.php
Photo Set 10 http://la.indymedia.org/news/2017/01/294833.php
Today there was no rain. We had a typical, California sun-shiney morning. Having stayed up until 4 am to file my last story on the inaugural protest, I stumbled sleepily into the crowd at 9 am. My brain finally woke up to the immense roar of the crowd on Broadway, and in Pershing Square here in downtown Los Angeles - and what a roar it was.
Suddenly, one realized that blocks and blocks of people were cheering at the top of their lungs. It was 9:30 am, and the party had just started. At the end of the day, organizers of The Women's March in Los Angeles stated that up to 750,000 people had attended this, the largest protest I have personally ever seen in the City of Angels. Thoughts of the crowds during Arab Spring, or the brave people of Tiananmen Square, came to mind. This city had not seen numbers like this since the Iraq war protests under George W. Bush.
Of course, huge attendance numbers were being recorded in Washington DC ( over 500,000 ) and elsewhere the country and the world. People from cities such as Buffalo, New york to Dublin, Ireland to Tokyo to Capetown in South Africa. The women of the globe were standing "en masse " to tell those that would compromise their progress to be on notice.
Even though anger was the most likely emotion motivating Southern Californians to leave the comforts of home on a Saturday morning, there could not have been more smiles or good will. This was a long overdue, and badly-desired, congregation. People were coming together for the good of the nation. Smiles beamed everywhere one looked. And much like the Liberty Cap during the French Revolution, a sea of of pink "pussyhats” - complete with cat ears and attitude - filled the streets for all to witness.
By 9:30 in the morning, I saw so, so many people...of every race and ethnicity, every religion and sex, every age and every income level. Professionals and the laborers sang together the chants they had come up with to warn the 45th President that he should be on notice. The crowd stated by it's sheer size, that it would not let him take away the strides of these last 100 years of American civil progress.
Rivers of people marched around 1st and Hill, near City Hall, while thousands of folks milled around 7th and Broadway - with no empty space in between. There were people everywhere. At times, it was simply hard to move.
Fathers carried their daughters, piggyback. Families posed and marched, and of course, thanks to Donald Trump, the word "pussy" was now being held aloft as a fighting word...an ironic moniker in the same vein as the "N word." Vaginal imagery was everywhere one looked; the normalization of the "P word" was thoroughly striking.
There were trans men and women, Riot Gurls and traditional feminists, gay couples and families. There were lonesome men, and men with families. One saw babies in carriages, elderly citizens in wheelchairs, the well-heeled and those from Skid Row with no shoes - all being held together by their common disgust in a man who has left them feeling morally and spiritually threatened.
He has threatened affordable health care.
He has threatened a woman's right to control their own bodies.
He has threatened press freedom and the image of America as a place where rights can be obtained, protected and sought.
He has threatened, through his appointments, the family lives of Muslims and Hispanics, and possibly, LGBT folks.
He has promised to decimate the governments global warming initiatives and to scrap the Paris Accords on climate change.
He has threatened to make a mockery of our democracy, through the sheer net worth of those he has attempted to appoint to powerful cabinet positions and government jobs.
He has threatened the dignity America finally regained after eight years of G.W. Bush.
He has threatened the very core of our Republic by getting the electorate to "tolerate" his soft mistruths, and his avoidance of the mechanisms which have kept presidents honest in the past. No tax returns, and no worries about the emolument clause for the 45th president. No divestment. Nada.
He has tarnished the notion of lower or middle-income Americans, such as Harry Truman, from ever again ascending to the great office (Truman could not afford to paint his mom's house while he was a Senator.) Oligarchy is closer than ever.
As the march wound here and there (the sheer number of people prevented any real march cohesiveness), sounds began to eminate from a stage located at 5th and Broadway. Once again, due to the massive numbers...reminiscent of photos of the Hajj...not everyone could see the stage. Jumbotrons at Pershing square and Broadway kept part of the crowd in touch with the speeches, but overall, the area was overwhelmed. Many report not being able to see or hear the music and testemonials.
Mellissa Manchester performed, Julie Louise Dreyfuss, Jamie Lee Curtiss and Russell Simmons preached revolution, Jackson Brown sang a bit, and our Los Angeles Black Lives Matters activists told us to work together, or we will fail. Laverne Cox took the stage and fearlessly extolled the massive crowds to the religion of personal pride and trans acceptance. She lit the crowd on fire.
The march and rally ended around 5pm. People looked as though they had all been to church and testified. The walking-back-to-the-car conversations I managed to overhear asked, “What's next? How can we organize?"
Perhaps this was an old-time, public baptism for a people who, for too long, had been looking at their phones, but not talking to their compadres enough, who - until now- had only declared their lines in the sand from the safety of their living rooms.
Interestingly enough, the police presence was almost nil. Very few, if any, police were out, the exception being security at the stage. This was a probable testimonial to the superb job that the Los Angeles organizers managed in so short a time.
As a photographer, I could not have had a better day. No one turned away from me. Everyone was happy to be included. All seemed to be there for the long count. It was a sunny day after these long months of election angst.
The shots in these photo sets are not of the crowds but of the folks in those crowds, the individuals that let loose that mighty roar at 9:30 in the morning. There are 10 photosets in this article which seems excessive but this march was very, very large. "It was Yuge" as President Donald might say. And sorry…no celebrity shots this time. These shots are meant to introduce us to the folks in the crowd and behind the signs. The ones you might sit down and have lunch with. Oddly enough this action was well populated with specialty food trucks stocked with tasty stuff. Who knows…is this a sign of something ?
The march was started as a Facebook posting to a group called Pantsuit Nation from a retired grandmother named Teresa Shook who resides in Maui,Hawaii. Within 24 hours after her post calling for a march, 10,000 people had committed to attending a "March on Washington" .
Today as I am posting this article we are once again blessed with heavy rain here in the Southlands. But instead of this being a gloomy monday perhaps we should realize that the sparks of a real revolution led by women everywhere has been given it's marching orders. Organize in your cities and towns to thwart the machinations of President Donald. Organize your neighborhoods. Organize your counties. Work Facebook and talk to those at your grocery stores and churches. Write, call and organize meetings with congress and your local school boards and city councils.
Do the work. Persevere.
And when you find yourself in the middle of this fight look back to the sheer numbers that showed up worldwide that will have your back. Find your heart and courage and…... wear some pink.
Robert Stuart Lowden
Los Angeles, California
January 21st, 2017.