A glorious, blazing sunrise greeted me Saturday morning as I woke up a bit earlier than usual to make my way to Denver for the Fourth Annual Women’s March (officially termed “Womxn’s March”, with a nod toward inclusiveness), one of hundreds planned around the country. After waiting at Sandstone Park until 8 a.m. to see if anyone wanted to carpool, I headed to Boulder solo to catch the Flatiron Flyer bus to Union Station. Every stop along the way added people going to the march, equipped with their signs, warm layers, and upbeat, contagious enthusiasm. I felt encouraged.
On the packed 16th Street Mall shuttle, I met some nice people from a Boulder chapter of Indivisible (a national progressive volunteer-based organization, with many local groups) who invited me to march with them. The crowd gathered was estimated between 10,000 and 15,000; quite a respectable number, though not the 100,000-plus crowd of 2017, the first year of the march. The mood was positive, cheery, and hopeful; celebratory, yet focused; purposeful, and passionate. A sense of urgency around the political climate was palpable. There was the usual vast array of clever, creative handmade signs. Some were optimistic, or humorous; others were angry, frustrated, or critical. Many expressed the declared focus of this year’s march: voting rights, climate emergency, and political change. Pink hats were visible.
The diverse, all-ages crowd (including sign-carrying dogs) funneled toward the 10 a.m. start at 14th and Bannock, winding the mile loop around the Capitol building. Spontaneous chanting pulsed through the marchers, like the call, “Tell me what democracy looks like,” answered by, “THIS is what democracy looks like!” There was singing, dancing, and lots of chatter. It felt uplifting, satisfying, and empowering to be a part of this human river–a moving community, exercising the most basic of American rights: freedom of assembly and expression.
In lieu of a post-march rally with speakers, an “Impact Expo” was held in the McNichols building, right in Civic Center Park. About 5,000 marchers explored two levels of groups promoting key issues and causes (reproductive rights, climate emergency, immigration and voting rights, gender equality, health care, affordable housing, and more). Several art groups cooperated to surround attendees with a delightful and refreshing display of powerful creative work. Some of it was interactive, like the wooden Tibetan yurt structure, adorned with brightly colored strips of fabric inscribed with prayers and wishes for our country, written by people passing by.
I decided to walk down the 16th Street Mall to soak in a bit of the city. I saw street musicians and a guy with wings, casually looking at his phone. I stopped in at the venerable Tattered Cover bookstore. I passed by a man asking for spare change. He saw I was carrying a sign, and asked me how it went. When I answered, “great,” he said, “Good for you. Good for us.”
March organizers plan to hold another gathering in August, closer to the elections.
A Lyons resident since 1998, Cathy Rivers is an architectural color consultant, designer, photographer, artist, teacher, and community arts activist.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any staff member, contribution writer or the Lyons Recorder.