What I loved most about the Women’s March in London wasn’t the political statement or striding out, exhilarating though that was. It wasn’t even the excellent punning (“We shall Overcomb”) it was the feeling of the collective. And in particular the beautiful citizen thumbprint of art work and emotion. Seared into my memory the multi-coloured signs, gleaming in the bright blue January sky. I’ve walked along Piccadilly many, many times but never felt so truly connected to, and proud of, my hometown. I don’t know whether you’ve been to London before, but it can sometimes be, well, a bit cloudy. Not on on January 21st. The sky was deepest blue, reminding the marchers of its soaring unlimitedness. ‘Stronger Together’ as we walked past the war memorial at Hyde Park Corner, ‘Women’s Rights are Human Rights’ past the Queen Elizabeth Gates – ‘Love and a nice cup of tea’ as we walked past the Ritz. A kaleidoscope of hand crafted placards, held by all walks of life. I have a feeling that this was a ‘walk of life’ for so many of us, for a kaleidoscope of reasons. A blue sky day lit up with homegrown declarations of independence.
Under the worthy auspice of a Women’s March, I felt encouraged that people hadn’t taken this too literally. There’s noting like standing shoulder to shoulder with a group of your own gender sometimes, particularly if that gender is denied equal pay, faces unfair societal barriers or abuse, but you don’t have to be a woman to be deeply offended by misogyny. We all have a role in shifting the social narrative away from limiting gender stereotypes for women and men.
Men protesting for equal rights for women. Women protesting for LGBTQ rights. Mothers and daughters protesting intersectional discrimination against women of colour. Four generations, side by side with Dad pushing the buggy. All races, all faces, we moved along together. We held our expressions of hope, of anger, of defiance and most often than not, love. People with infinitely different experiences of the world, the margins of the marginalised, your next door neighbour, the people who care about the planet and the people that live here.
I hope people felt supported and listened to. I hope the beautiful home-made placards made it home intact. Most of all I hope some of them got swapped along the way.
And heres to more home-made signs of togetherness, may the citizens’ art be as present in our cities as street signs, guiding us on our way.