Monday, January 23, 2017
Friday was a depressing as hell day, but Saturday more than made up for it.
Saturday, I traveled in to Boston to join the Women’s March. I admit, I went in with cynicism. It quickly dissipated.
It was a beautiful day. The bus was full, and energy was high. The walk to the Common was a lot of fun, as people converged from all directions.
There were many memorable moments. Some of my favorites include:
–The elderly Asian couple, holding hands, grinning from ear to ear, wearing pink pussy hats;
–Feminists in Kilts — a group of men in kilts who turned out to support, and they wore them well!
–The Duck statues honoring MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS outfitted in hats;
–A Fife & Drum Corp in full regalia, playing and carrying the banner with Abigail Adams’s quote: “Remember the Ladies.”
–Women Working for Oceans;
–Chinese Lion Dance, performed by the only all-female Chinese Lion Dance Troupe, to bless the event. As someone who worked on shows like MISS SAIGON and FLOWER DRUM SONG, where the dancers came to the theatre to bless us, this was personally meaningful to me.
–“Amazing Grace” sung in Cherokee;
–The Mashpee Wampanoag Clan Mothers giving a blessing;
–A passionate Mayor Marty Walsh, urging us to “Amplify!” I’d never seen him speak live before, and he was wonderful.
–Everything that came out of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s mouth. Especially her urge to be involved, to fight, and her belief in science.
–Senator Ed Markey, reminding us about the state’s long history with the American Revolution, Abolition Movement, Suffragist Movement, and Freedom Fighters. Again, I’d never heard him speak live before, and he was great.
–Attorney General Maura Healey, who gave an amazing speech and had this message for Trump: “We’ll see you in court!”
–Tisha Sullivan, of the NAACP’s speech.
–Frequent reminders that we continue to stand with Standing Rock.
–A quote whose attribution I did not write down: “A democracy is only as strong as we are engaged.”
–The impromptu dance party that broke out, when it took much longer than hoped for to funnel us all onto the march route, because instead of the 80,000 expected, 175,000 showed up.
It was a wonderful day. I was worried it would be bunnies and rainbows and “Kumbaya”, but it was about active engagement.
The Boston Police Department was fantastic. They made it clear they were here FOR us, not AGAINST us, and together we had a joyful, peaceful day. There was not one arrest. We got a thank you from the Commissioner.
The Parks Department thanked us for cleaning up after ourselves, and were amazed that an event so large could clean up so fast.
People who live in the townhouses flanking the Common were out on their balconies, enjoying things. The music was good, in between speakers and performances.
I couldn’t find any of the people I’d planned to meet, but I met many others, and everyone was looking out for each other.
The only trouble I personally experienced was walking back to South Street Station after. On Winter Street, three young white supremacists, with swastikas carved into their buzz cuts, yelled insults as people dispersed. Everyone just ignored them. They couldn’t get any attention. They were unable to incite trouble or hurt anyone’s mood.
There were a lot of men of all ages at the march — many of whom had marched against Vietnam and for Women’s Reproductive Rights. There were many young men, for whom this was a new experience, but they believe in equality and justice for all. There were women and children and pets. There were terrific signs and costumes and slogans. There were genuine ideas on how to work together to make things better.
On the bus on the way home, we laughed and groaned about how we weren’t as young as we used to be, and how we’d be soaking in Epsom salts that night.
When I got home, I watched footage and read comments from other marches all over the world — 50 states and 32 countries. Depending on the source, DC’s march had between one million and two million. Again, no violence.
Of course, Swamp Thing’s supporters were going crazy on social media. They were screaming on social media at the marchers (although, from reports, very few of them showed up in counter-protest). They posted fake photos of violence (that had happened the day before) and messes left by protestors (none of the “sources” I’ve seen so far were real, and I’ve yet to hear any Parks Department or Police Department complain. Quite the opposite — there have been posted thanks from several).
Millions of people around the world asserted their right to peaceful protest. Those who are infuriated by said protest are ignoring the fact that no one told them they had to agree or join it. The event was there — join if you want; if you disagree, then don’t show up. No one tried to MAKE you show up. The fact that you are unable to stop screaming and jumping up and down like a thwarted toddler (but then, look who’s setting the example) just shows that you don’t understand either history or the Constitution. I’ve seen cries that protesting doesn’t change anything. Really? Did you ever actually take a class in history? Protests all over the world create change. Women’s right to vote, to chose, civil rights, and the Affordable Care Act are all proof of that. NO ONE CARES THAT YOU WEREN’T THERE. Your decision not to join in was respected. No one tried to coerce you. You made your choice; we made ours. There were plenty of us who were there, and we are going to move forward. Together. That’s what really irks the naysayers. They weren’t missed.
There will be a march on Friday in DC for Pro-Liferrs. Do I agree with their position? Of course not. But good for them for asserting their right to peaceful assembly, and I hope they have a good day. Will I be there? No. I’m busy taking action on the things that are important to me, while they are busy taking action on things that are important to them. We are engaging per our beliefs, and that’s a good thing. Elected officials don’t know how their constituents feel if their constituents don’t tell them. If only lobbyists engage, then we end up with what we have now: A giant mess with a potential for more mess.
I got home to the happy news that everything’s been finalized, and I get to write the play about Renaissance painter Lavinia Fontana for the group 365 Women in New York. I’ll have a little over five months to immerse myself in Renaissance painting, and nearly six months to write the play. I’m very excited.
Another contract negotiation that I thought was dead in the water seems to still have some potential, so my agent and I are focusing on that today. I have a third letter of agreement to get out to someone who wants to work with me and we have some details to work out.
I’m working on contest entries, and tomorrow I have a project meeting off-Cape. Because Heaven forbid any arts organization ON Cape is willing to pay artists properly. So I’m off-Cape tomorrow. Initial conversations have gone well, they like my work, so we’ll see what happens.
I’m way behind in my writing this month. I hope to get back on track this week. I feel like I’m in a holding pattern until these contract negotiations are finalized, when what I should be doing is doubling down and getting as much done as I can, because the contracts are for different projects and the schedule will have to be redone as soon as things are signed.
There’s also another opportunity dangling in front of me. I want to do it very, very badly, but I’m worried that I’m piling too much on my plate. I have to see what happens this week, and then I’ll be able to make a decision.
I have a lot of work to do this morning before the nor’easter hits, including work with my elected officials.
Saturday was inspiriting; yesterday was a day of recovery; today, it’s back to work, on all levels.