On Saturday, we met up with a friend and headed down to downtown Albany. We were going there to join up with our local Woman’s March. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting. Albany isn’t the biggest city around so I knew we wouldn’t come close to Washington D.C. or New York City’s numbers. I guess I figured a few hundred people would show up, we’d march down the sidewalk for a bit, and that would be it. What actually happened both surprised and inspired me.
First, we arrived. We got off our bus (we weren’t going to try to park downtown) and followed a light crowd to where the meeting place was. We were about 45 minutes early, but there was already a pretty large crowd gathering. They weren’t done arriving, though. More and more people came up behind us. Eventually, I couldn’t see the start or end of the crowd. We were in a sea of people waiting to start our march.
At around 4pm, the street was closed off so we could march down it. Thank goodness, because there was no way we’d all be able to march on the sidewalk with traffic going by. You know how I said I thought there would be a few hundred people? The organizers actually thought there would be about 2,000 people. There were easily over 7,000 people and possibly close to 10,000! We marched slowly down the street to the Capital building. There, we all gathered and listened to a few speakers. Though, I’ll admit I couldn’t hear much. My one criticism was that the sound system wasn’t up to par. Then again, they had planned for about a quarter of the attendance so I guess that was the one downside to the very good upside of great attendance.
Now, you might wonder how a man feels marching in a Women’s March. First of all, I wasn’t the only man there. There were plenty of men just like there were people of all races, religions, ages, sexual orientations, etc. I realize that women’s issues don’t just affect women. If women get access to better health care, better protections over their own bodies, and more freedom from sexual aggression or discrimination, it actually helps men also. If something happened to my wife, it wouldn’t just impact her and leave my sons and I unaffected. We’d be hurt as well. If my niece or my sister had something happen, we’d be affected.
Though NHL declined to go (combination teenager and Asperger’s/not doing well with crowds), JSL came with us. I want my boys growing up knowing that women aren’t objects to be used, but human beings who deserve to be treated just as well as any other human. I’m doing my part to forever shatter the old “a woman’s place is in the home” saying. Let that be something that our kids and grandkids study in history books in disbelief that this was ever the case. I’m teaching my boys that a woman’s place is where ever she wants to be. That might be the home or a boardroom. It might be as a doctor, a scientist, in the army, or any political office.
Oh, and JSL and I proudly wore our pussy hats.
My one regret with the march was that we didn’t make signs beforehand. Some of the signs that people had were incredibly creative. I’ll end with some photos of the rally and the signs we saw.