Protesters coming for a gathering

So, I got up stupid early this morning (Friday, Jan. 20, 2017) to catch a flight to Washington, D.C., to cover the Women’s March tomorrow. I’m not a morning person, so being at Dallas Love Field by 5:40 a.m. was not a pleasant ordeal.

But then ….

I was the first one sitting at the gate for the 7:40 a.m. Southwestern flight. But not for long. A group of about five women showed up before too long. I knew they were headed to D.C. for the march by the pink “pussy” cat hats they were wearing. Then more and more women started showing up. Almost every person waiting on the flight was female.

There were “pussy” hats. There were buttons. There were “Women’s March” t-shirts. Most of them knew at least one or two others, but from the atmosphere, it seemed as if everyone had known everyone forever.

People who had extras of the knitted (crocheted?) hats were sharing them with people they had just met. They were sharing the buttons. One woman — not sure if she was traveling for the march or just traveling — had her elderly yorkie — Stewart — with her. She took him out of his carrier and held him up for everyone to see, and Stewart barked as the women gave him a round of applause.

Another woman, there with two friends she grew up with in Oak Cliff, had brought her 14-year-old daughter along. She said her daughter’s classmates look at the girl in awe, sometimes, asking her, “Are you a feminist?” (The pink-and-blonde-haired girl confirms this with a nod and a grin). “She just tells them, ‘It’s not like we’re some kind of cult, you know.'”

Then people started taking photos of the crowd with their phones. “Who all’s going to the march?” yelled one woman, snapping photos quickly with her phone as the crowd cheered and raised their hands. Another, her face beaming as she took photos, declared: “Just think! All this in Dallas! It gives me hope!”

The plane landed in Washington around 11:30 a.m., EST. As I walked off the plane and started looking for the signs to direct me to the Metro, I saw crowds of people stopped, luggage in hand, watching the big screens showing the scene from the inauguration. No one was cheering.

I’ve made it to the apartment where I am staying now — Thank you Karen McCrocklin for being my travel agent and my landlady for this trip — and I am sitting here alone with the balcony door open. Listening to the sounds of the traffic.

There’s a U.S. Park Police helicopter circling over the area (it’s less than a mile from here to the White House). A guy’s sitting in the open doorway on the side of the chopper, feet hanging over the edge, and I think he’s taking photos. Hard to tell from this distance, even with my zoom lens on.

And the sirens! Every few seconds a different police car (or motorcycle) zooms past. They aren’t all going in the same direction, so it’s not like there’s been some incident they are all rushing toward. I don’t know if this is a normal amount of police traffic for an inauguration day or not. Probably so.

And then, there were the bangs just now — like gunshots — just down 13th St. There was a lot of smoke, and since there weren’t people running and screaming and no myriad of police vehicles, sirens screaming, heading that way, I’m gonna go with fireworks, planned and intended fireworks. Maybe part of Trump’s parade? I don’t think so.

There have also been plenty of protestors. Karen has video she took this morning, out the same window I am shooting photos from, of at least two different groups of protestors. And I keep seeing them, in pairs or small groups, even one larger group of about 20 or so, walking down the sidewalks near this building, signs in hand, most of them dressed in black as a sign of mourning.

There have been numerous other groups, she said, protesting yesterday, today — all of them determined to stand up, speak up, fight back, resist what has every indication of being an oppressive regime, a wealth-based aristocracy rather than a meritocracy, where cronyism will get you a seat at the table even when you have no idea what you are doing.

Tomorrow, my temporary roommates and I will join those protesters/mourners in the streets for the Women’s March. And I will be there to record the whole thing with my camera.