A sea of pink eared hats bob among the multitude of signs. Somewhere in the slowly marching wave of people my mom, her friend, her daughter, and I are chanting along with the others. It has only been a day since the new president was sworn into office, but already protests are going on around the world. More than a million will march today, just in the United States alone, including here in Ann Arbor.
We arrive by bus packed with other marchers. It is somewhere around fifty degrees fahrenheit and our heads are starting to sweat from all the heat trapped underneath the hats. Among the smushed up people, there are many signs displaying statements such as “My body, My choice”. The bus is sweltering inside, being crushed up against others, and people are being refused because it is so packed with marchers. As we hear the air conditioner turn on there is a loud, general shout of enjoyment that rolls through the dense crowd.
Now on the streets it is even more packed, eleven thousand or so march our way from in front of the post office to the diag on the university campus. Along our way we chant things like “What do we want, equality, When do we want it, now” and sometimes we switch out equality for respect or chant “Love not hate makes America great”.
I felt a sense of pride surge through me. I finally can have a say in something. My family and I are Canadian and my parents legally can’t vote because of our visas. Now, we can march in solidarity for something that really matters and have a say in what is going on in the country that we are currently living in. It is nice to finally be able to do something but deep down I know that the reason for this march should never have existed in the first place. We are making progress so these marches should never have to be necessary. This seems partially unreal as we continue on our way, I never thought that I would be part of any march yet alone one this world wide.
Sometimes it is hard to be a female, but I as look around at the men and women of all ages, I know that it must slowly be getting better. Our feet crunch the gravel underneath us in a harmonious way as we collectively clap and chant our way to the diag. Along the way I see two of my science teachers from middle school and we exchange waves. Many of the people have empty hands but instead of having nothing they put their slogans on masking tape on the back of their clothes and wrote stuff like #nevermypresident and/or #notmypresident in black circular sharpie letters.
Our pink hats start to itch and a cooler wind starts to blow that is a welcome change from the hot bus we had got off of nearly two hours earlier. No one complained though because sometimes there are things bigger than you, this is one of those times where we need to stick together like glue. We are nearly there now and are a slightly larger group now including co-workers of my mom’s friend, but we are still going slow. We were able get the streets for the march, but with eleven thousand people there isn’t enough room to go at a normal walking speed.
We were now going into the diag and the large wave of people split up into two following the sidewalks, rolling into the diag. Some people have muddy shoes from crossing the grass so they can get in the diag quicker and are able to get closer when the speakers come out on the platform. So the eleven thousand of us stand there, some with mud spattered shoes, and others with slightly sweaty heads, and we wait for the speakers to come on and prepare to do loads of clapping and cheering.