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MUSICIANS TELL US WHAT THE WOMEN’S MARCH ON NYC MEANT TO THEM
I walked for all the women in my life, those who have left the planet and those who are suffering from the many injustices that still exist today.
I walked to communicate with like-minded people and to feel that we can still have hope to make this already great nation even greater.
I walked for equal pay for women.
I walked for health care for all in this country.
I walked to protect a woman’s right to choose.
I walked with my fellow Local 802 musicians to help spread the universal language of music that continues to bond us all with no prejudice or boundaries.
When the election season began (which seems like years ago), I thought that surely common sense would prevail and we would end up with candidates from both parties who had the country’s best interest in mind. I knew I would not fully agree with either candidate on everything, but I thought I understood and appreciated the process that elected our leaders.
It seemed like a remote possibility to me that the world in which we now live would ever become a reality. During the election and certainly post election I have had to do a lot of self-examination and reflection. I have vacillated between obsessively watching the news and hiding my head in my coat. But mostly what I have been doing is examining my own place in the world. As a white, heterosexual, cisgendered person, I am deeply aware of my privilege. As a woman and an artist I have also been marginalized and condescended to on any number of occasions. If I am worried and scared and angry, I can only imagine how Muslims, people of color, and gays must feel right now. This is why I marched. We all know the inspirational words of Leonard Bernstein about making music more intensely and beautifully than ever before – and I think we should! The collective energy of people at the march from all walks of life was inspiring and exhilarating. But I think it is going to take more than that from all of us. Our legal system and journalism – institutions designed to protect and speak truth to power – are under attack. It will be incumbent on all of us to stay vigilant and informed, and to stay energized to resist the changes of an administration intent on undermining the values that my fellow marchers and I hold dear.
I marched because Silence is acceptance. And we must speak loudly! There are so many reasons that I marched and so many people for whom I marched. But that statement sums it up best.
On Friday before the Women’s March, my partner George Dewar went to the union offices, paid his dues and picked up Local 802 hats for us to wear in the march. We never made it to the Local 802’s contingent – the streets around Grand Central were jammed with people. We joined a group from PSC-CUNY, my other union affiliation, and began our very slow progress through the streets. We never made it to Trump Tower and we didn’t manage to stay with any group. It was heartening to be with so many individuals who shared our concern, to be in so large and yet so peaceful a group. I was also impressed by the demeanor of the New York City police officers along the route, who were unfailingly considerate and respectful to us.
The need for the demonstration came after we left the group. We went back into Grand Central to take the subway home. I stopped in the terminal to get a snack – we’d been outside for about three hours. The cashier at a stand in Grand Central Market, speaking Russian, denigrated the march, saying that Trump was wonderful and why were people so upset. I responded in my own very rusty Russian, but thought to myself if someone who to all appearances was herself a recent emigré did not understand the danger posed by the current administration, then it was even more important to show our solidarity with the causes we marched for.