LA Womens March : My Experience

It was about 8am and we finally found a parking spot somewhat near the Expo line Metro station at Bundy. Practically from the moment we opened the door we found camaraderie with a woman inquiring if it was okay to park there. Eric reassured her it was a fine place to park.

 

Initially, using complex Facebook math that is scientifically tested to be statistically accurate, I assumed something in the range of 45–50k marcher’s. Upon getting to the station though, there was a huge line just to buy tickets and there were rumors swirling about free access today. We made friends in line with a mother who was as curious as us about the free rides, and eventually we gained access to the platform up top. It was beginning to dawn on me that perhaps my estimations were inaccurate, as the platform was just jammed, and the eastbound train was chock full. Not only that, the westbound train was jam packed, as people were getting on the train just to get a spot before it looped back around.

 

Quickly we abandoned our plan of utilizing public transit (Sorry to my urban planning transit geek friends, you can totally make fun of me) and proceeded to drive to downtown. We parked, waited for Mickey and Danielle before taking a Lyft as close as we could get, and then we realized there was no way in hell we were getting to Pershing Square. We were about a good block away when the crowd just got too thick to move. No one was getting mobile service, no calls, data, nothing. So much for linking up with many friends who were supposed to show up. The same was true for Patricia, a young woman I befriended in the crowd near us, and we invited her to join our group since there was little hope of her finding her friends. I think we were instantly good friends, and Patricia gave us some extra signs she had made, which was perfect because we had none.

 

Everyone was in a great mood, smiling and laughing, pointing out the cleverness of all the signs. Facts Matter! Girls Just Want to Have FUNdamental Rights! It felt a little bit more like a festival than an anti-Trump rally. We were at the whims of the crowd, like floating seaweed in a vast ocean, we were ready to go wherever the crowd would take us. Everyone was friendly, I mean everyone. When we got marching we’d talk to everyone around us, smiles, big huge smiles, or should I say YUGE smiles? There was the occasional high five and everyone was more than willing to help take a picture of your group, or make room for your selfie.

 

I knew my mom was here somewhere, but at a certain point I gave up on running into anyone I knew randomly. It gave me a great sense of comfort though, because it meant that WAY more people showed up than I thought would. I saw a woman with a sign that read “Hi Mom”, so I got a picture holding her sign and figured that would have to do in place of marching with my mom. (spoiler alert: She loved it!)

 

 

Collectively we were a group of five misfits, lets call us the party of five, or well maybe the super awesome amazing party of five…..yes that has a better ring to it. Anyhow, we brought the energy, the noise, the passion. Our go to chant was “Love, not Hate, Makes America Great”. We were constantly encouraging everyone to smile, saying “Smiles are sexy!”, and they pretty much all obliged us. A lot of the time we were being total goofballs, really silly stuff, like saying “Has anyone seen my mom??”, and then a big lady comes out of nowhere and gives Mickey a great big hug, “I’ll be your mom”, she says!

 

It was kind of like that all day. Everyone was there for each other. Everyone had every reason to be angry. I mean this election cycle has probably been the most divisive and hateful election cycle this country has ever seen. You open Facebook or Twitter, you look on the news, and you feel like we’re living in two different countries. I subscribe to the widely held belief that all emotions stem from either love or hate. I probably spend more time on social media then I should, and I see a lot of hate from both Trump supporters and Trump detractor’s. For months I’ve been trying to bridge that divide, trying to lead by example and even directly telling people that hating the other side isn’t going to solve anything, its not going to create any sort of meaningful dialogue.

 

Overwhelmingly, the LA Womens March chose love over hate. It was a beautiful response, incredibly touching and moving to all who were there. It wasn’t even like you needed to mention it. You could simply see it on everyone’s face. The whole day I had that feeling of familiarity with everyone I saw. I didn’t need to run into any of the other friends I knew were there. These were all my friends, these were all my people. This was a defiant love. We would not let politics divide us. We would not let our democracy be eroded by fear of one another, of immigrants, of anyone.

 

Everyone had different reasons for marching and the media and the critics will try to pinpoint whichever one they disagree with the most. Who cares. The main point is that somewhere between 3 and 4 million people got out of their homes and took to the streets, not knowing if things would get crazy, not knowing if there would be riots. People came and they brought their signs, and their daughters and their sons. Men came and they wore their pink hats. They brought their love and they brought their support. It wasn’t so much about them and what they wanted, but more about supporting the larger group, the collective. That just melts my heart, because growing up in the United States its easy to get that sense that everyone is just out for themselves. It’s a dog eat dog capitalistic world where everyone’s trying to get rich, everyone trying to make a buck off you. But not on this cold Saturday in January, nope. Rain or shine, Americans showed up across the country and made a statement, hopefully a statement that will be echoed loudly for years to come. A statement that you are not alone.

 

I hope this is a building block, the first of many bricks in a giant bridge to connect our hearts to city hall, to the White House, and to the rest of the country where a wall has been built. “Build Bridges, Not Walls”, one sign side. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 
 

Comments

Mike Haluska Added Feb 15, 2017 - 4:13pm
Luchino - Quick question.
 
Please tell me about ONE RIGHT women are being denied by the government or anyone else.  Not EXTRA RIGHTS - the rights stated in the Constitution!
Dino Manalis Added Feb 15, 2017 - 4:31pm
Trump should invite representatives of women's and civil rights groups to the White House.
Mike Haluska Added Feb 15, 2017 - 4:51pm
He did - the Pro-Life women's group showed up that was EXCLUDED from the last march because all they actually care about is abortion - not women's rights.  You still haven't answered my simple question.  Don't feel bad - none of the other 500,000 protesters could either!!!
Luchino Castagno Added Feb 15, 2017 - 5:05pm
Mike, 
Did you read my story? It doesn't appear you did if that is your only comment. Id appreciate if your comment was about my story, thanks.
-Luchino
George N Romey Added Feb 15, 2017 - 5:57pm
Here is my take.  A march yes might feel good and all that.  But what is it you seek from Trump?  Is it community childcare?  Mandatory PTO (which I'm in favor of)?  Schools to be more controlled locally?
Luchino Castagno Added Feb 15, 2017 - 6:26pm
Personally or as a collective? Personally this is such a broad question I could write a lengthy essay. Collectively this is a very difficult question as its tough to get an extremely large group to agree on issues and prioritize them. 
 
Personally I would like to see a more balanced leadership of the masculine/feminine in Washington. For me this doesn't necessarily mean 50% of our elected politicians or appointed officials have to be female. Masculinity and femininity is not about gender roles for me, it is about spirituality and the connection to the natural energies that we all share. To that respect, men can typically stand to be more in touch with their feminine side (no it doesn't make them gay imo), and women can be more in touch with their masculine side.
 
I definitely think Washington could use more females in power. I definitely think Trump on a personal level could embrace his feminine side more. As with regard to specific government policies or programs? I'm no lobbyist or lawyer, but I would say in line with my values listed here, any program which serves as a safety net for say trauma, and specifically in providing compassion and support for those dealing with such issues I would consider to be embracing the feminine. For example, perhaps you lose a loved one? Not everyone has the most supportive or connected family network to fall on in times of crisis. It doesn't have to be a mandatory policy, but one that is available for people should they need it. 
 
Last year my upstairs neighbor passed away, he was incredibly young. Maybe 25? We were on a first name basis but beyond the occasional hello, how are you, we didn't know each other. I wanted to reach out to his family, at least send a card, my condolences, something. I had no way of doing this. I didnt have his last name and the apartment manager keeps family information confidential, as does the police. I never even found out the cause of death. In so many ways our society is disconnected from one other, in such a way that even if we wanted to reach out, we are unable to. After that I took it upon myself to make a greater connection with all my neighbors, to invite them over for dinner, to connect on FB, exchange numbers, etc....
 
I'm not looking for a precise answer to this situation, just illustrating what I see as a disconnect of humans even at an extremely regional level, at least within an urban setting. Probably more of a states issue then a federal one, but again it's just an example. 
George N Romey Added Feb 15, 2017 - 6:40pm
Luchino I have a new article coming out about the neighborhood I grew up in the 1960s.  The article goes to the fact community used to take care and look out for each other.  Not a bureaucrat.  We have lost the ability to connect to our neighbors.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 16, 2017 - 2:01am
A very cosmic kumbaya oh so typical LA DUHmerican experience. Isn't that sweet. Awwwww. 
MJ Added Feb 16, 2017 - 7:38am
Luchino, just one question: why did they not march when Obama became President? To my knowledge, nothing fundamental ( for women) has changed since his inauguration.
Your neighbour's death has nothing to do with President Trump`s Presidency! You choose what type of life you want not your President!
wsucram15 Added Feb 16, 2017 - 1:02pm
Congrats for being in LA while I was in DC. I think you had about 750k there that day or so I was told, very impressive.   WEmade some noise that day and I recommend to all "keep it up".
 
Now to MJ..people did march during Obama...they were called the Tea Party.
I also marched at several demonstrations during his 8 years in office which I have stated several times on here although NOT with the Tea Party who were obstructionists for the PPACA and eventually the Obama Presidency.  I marched against them on two occasions and the rest were for dark money and net neutrality.
 
Mike, the Pro-life people were asked not to carry signs for pro-life since they had a march the next day.  Of the 103 groups marching with permits, almost 2/3 of them were there for pro-choice, it would have been counter productive to their message.  Why should Pro-choice people who NEVER get press and got a bunch that day share press with people that have beaten people up at clinics, etc. ? The Pro-lifers had a permit for the next day and they did their march.   They were able to march w/o signs if they wanted.. also no one wanted the hassle.  It was a peaceful march with millions...why make it aggressive?  I personally met quite a few Trump supporters there, all peaceful, marching in support of women.  Not one of them as aggressive as anyone on here that supports Trump.  We didnt agree on things but we had dialog on perspectives. 
 
 
Luchino Castagno Added Feb 16, 2017 - 1:59pm
wsucram,
Thanks! Yeah I was blown away by how many Angeleno's showed up that day. Typically the very spread out nature of the metropolis and the difficulty with traffic prohibits people from congregating en masse, but that day was extremely.
I think you have brought forth an interesting perspective on the pro-life critiques of the women's march that I haven't heard much if at all from the right.
I was beginning to think I was the only liberal on this site and was wondering what exactly were the motives behind the site's creator inviting me to post content on here.
Personally I find the "why didn't you march or speak up for this one cause that I believe in" to be destructive criticism rather than constructive criticism. I've been seeing it a lot lately. First of all the temporal aspect is one that cannot be ignored. Eight years is a long time. Political climate's change. Secondly, we all can't march for every cause, there just isn't enough time in the day.
Personally I applaud anyone who organizes collectively to advocate peacefully for their causes, regardless of whether or not I agree with their cause. I am certainly not pro-life, and even despite the numerous prior incidents of violence committed in the name of the pro-life movement, I still support and applaud those who organize and demonstrate in the March For Life.
As to MJ's question, I believe the most defining difference is with regards to abortion rights and laws regarding abortion between the Obama administration and the Trump administration. Secondly I would point out the blatant sexism and misogyny present in many of Trump's recorded comments throughout his life. The majority of women I know are appalled at his words and behaviors. They feel that it normalizes and encourages sexism and misogyny in our society. There are deep-seated issues of violence and abuse both physically and emotionally towards women from men still present in our society. It isn't just Trump either, Bannon has a history of domestic violence and abuse. He also made life especially difficult on his ex-wife and two daughters when he repeatedly blocked her from enrolling the children in different schools, although it is argued he did this for anti-semitic reasons, but it certainly could have been to punish his ex-wife.
As for, "you choose what type of life you want, not your president". Yes and no. The president is the most powerful figure in America and has the ability to influence all of our lives. We live in an interconnected society where all of our choices impact others. I cannot choose to live in a society in America that is deeply respectful of indigenous culture and native sovereignty, even if I wanted to. That is simply not the reality of America in 2017. I cannot choose to live in an American society that is without intolerance and bigotry, as much as I would like to. I cannot choose to live a life where I get to drive as fast as I want, litter as much as I want or pollute the earth as much as I want (although I would definitely not choose this). There's things like laws that prevent people from engaging in certain behaviors and activities, because those activities and behaviors impact others. There's also the absence of laws that allows other to negatively impact people's lives, without their choice. The president is not responsible for all of this but also he does have influence over the creation or abolition of laws, laws that impact people's choices in how they live their lives.
Ryan Messano Added Feb 16, 2017 - 3:02pm
You pathetic miscreant, go back to your safe space.  This site is for adults who can handle debate.  
Ryan Messano Added Feb 16, 2017 - 3:03pm
Every one of you liberal snowflakes gets beat into submission.  We've got a club of 100's who have been reformed, you can join them.
wsucram15 Added Feb 16, 2017 - 4:07pm
Luchino.. there is a delete button for when Ryan(or anyone else) gets to be too much.  He gets thrown off other sites and comes back here to make everyone except extremists on here mad.
 
You were invited because of your POV, it creates debate. There are 4 people on here, I assure you..that you will never have a productive discussion with based on your pov from the beginning though.  There are others however, even though they dont agree, will listen and discus.
 
I marched because I simply don't agree with ideologically with the few core ideas the President has set on the table.  I don't like his dishonesty, but I have been that way for many years about politicians (this was NOT my first march).  I also dislike anyone who thinks they are "better than" for any reason. Be it a bigot, religious extremist, white supremacist, misogynist, whatever..
I tried really hard to give him a shot, I was at the inauguration as well.  (no the crowds were no where near as large as the Womans March) But he was so angry it seemed like and instead of a powerful speech to unite all people, it was just more campaign rhetoric for his base. My brother went to the Military Ball and I hung out with friends in DC, and then went home.  It was so uncrowded that you could actually get into the inaugural balls this year and it was cheap.
So I marched the next day and I am really proud of that, its something that only we share along with a few million others around the world-Luchino.  :)
 
 
 
Ryan Messano Added Feb 16, 2017 - 4:11pm
Jeanne is still dealing with her pain, and feels that entitles her to have an alternative viewpoint.  She then screams and yells when opposed, like the rest of the liberals.
 
Kindly don't patronize me.  You have no guts, and can't stand up for a just cause alone if your life depended on it.
 
So you stand, and weakly criticize those of us who do.  You weak liberals are a disgrace to this nation.
Ryan Messano Added Feb 16, 2017 - 4:12pm
That you marched with those wicked and evil women is a disgrace to your gender.  It was organized by a woman who believes in Sharia law, and that men should beat women.
 
For your ignorance, you deserve to be beat.
Ryan Messano Added Feb 16, 2017 - 4:13pm
And while you are marching with women, you stand for the murder of 30 million in the womb.  LOL.  Makes sense.  One of your speakers was a murderer and a torturer.  So pathetic you are so easily misled.
 
 
Ryan Messano Added Feb 16, 2017 - 4:15pm
Then you have the audacity to criticize Trump, while Madonna fantasizes about blowing up the White House.  Of course she is the same woman who offered oral sex if people voted for Hillary. One man did vote for Hillary, and she broke her word.  Then Ashley Judd gets up and starts talking about Nasty Women, and you all were nasty women, make no mistake about it.  Belligerent, and disgraceful.  Real women weren't there, that I can tell  you.  Of course, it was organized by George Soros who funded 56 organizations behind the march.  You are a clueless puppet.
Luchino Castagno Added Feb 16, 2017 - 4:16pm
WSU, 
 
I appreciate your advice for the site. Also I appreciate and share your perspective. I think this idea that one is "better" than another person creates separation, it creates division, which is ultimately destructive, not creative. 
 
I give everyone a shot every day. Time does not exist in a vacuum. People are never frozen in time, but their past can far too often predict their future actions, words and ideas. Still though, I believe in the endless and infinite possibilities of change. When Trump does something I agree with, I will applaud him. I applauded his rhetoric to "Drain The Swamp" and if he ever does this, I'll give him credit where credit is due. I gave him credit for his words of unity following his election results. Unfortunately words are cheap and actions are what speak loudest, however words do carry weight when presidents utter them. Sadly many of his words I feel compromise and contradict his claims of unity. 
 
I am also proud, as I believe I alluded to in my article. 
wsucram15 Added Feb 16, 2017 - 4:44pm
I cannot agree with you any more than that..when he does something to applaud, I am literally in DC once or twice a week now...
Its difficult to want to see someone do well and they just dont. Even if I didnt agree with what he did, if he did something without separating and injuring people, I could maybe get on board with it.  But he does things specifically to divide people, he has used peoples innermost fears against others.  This isnt just sad, its dangerous.
 
Utpal Patel Added Feb 16, 2017 - 10:56pm
“Overwhelmingly, the LA Womens March chose love over hate.”
 
Please spare me the moral superiority bullshit.  You marched because you hate Trump, women had nothing to do with it or you would have marched when Obama was elected or when Trump actually did something warranting women to march. 
Ryan Messano Added Feb 16, 2017 - 11:29pm
LOL, agree with the spirit if not the style of your remark.  
 
That woman's march was a disgrace.  Organized by a Muslima, whose religion has been the greatest threat to women for the past 1,400 years.  
wsucram15 Added Feb 17, 2017 - 9:25am
Utpal..I did march during Obama, Bush, and Clinton Presidencies on specific policies.  My sister was more active in the prior Presidencies. In that regard, I have worked with Congress (both sides) in DC for some time now.  So take that crap somewhere else.  I am proud of my protesting as my sisters, some of this work has changed history.
But make no mistake, I dont like Trump...but with all due respect, I was at his inauguration, and paid him respect as an incoming President. Where were all the people on this page that are giving me a hard time? 
With that being said..I dont want to hear what you or Ryan have to say, you just lost all credibility.
wsucram15 Added Feb 17, 2017 - 9:28am
Let me also be clear..everyone that marches now, has the right to do so. If Trump wanted it to stop, he only has to stop reaching out to feed his ego (his base) and talk to ALL people.  It would bypass the press and end all of this.
Tom C. Purcell Added Feb 22, 2017 - 3:03pm
Build bridges, not walls?  Build both.  Just build the walls first, so that we can afford to build bridges and other infrastructure in THIS country, in the U.S. 

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