Near Mirror Lake in St. Petersburg, Fl., protesters posed for pictures, raised their signs for all to see, chanted lines about calling a woman whenever there’s a need to fix things. This happening event started just after noon on a beautiful sunny Sunday, on the anniversary of the first January 21st Women’s March in 2017. This time 5, 000 strong nasty “Never Trumpers” women, men and children arrived prepared to march.
This was called, “A Day of Action” and this year’s slogan was “Power to the Polls,“a call to elect “more women and progressive candidates to office.”
“Motto: “In 2017 we marched! In 2018 we ACT!”
Peoples of a like minded thinking gathered where they chatted about things like, how we’ve got to get him out of the White House. Stories abounded about how this president was trying to divide us with his racist views and how incredulous it is, that this vindictive, angry, bitter misogynist became our president.
I usually arrive at these events solo, to take in the atmosphere of excitement, comradeship, and it doesn’t take long before I manage to find some walking / talking buddies.
It is fun to admire everyone’signs like “Keep Your Hands off our Midterms,” “Women Wanted to Clean House, in the Senate,” “Facts Matter” Build Bridges not Walls,” If It Walks Like a Racist, Talks Like a Racist, It’s a Trump, “We Will Resist, Persist, We Will Vote.”
Women were sharing the painful memory of how President Donald Trump, who won the presidential election in 2016— over the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, was a man accused of unwanted sexual contact by more than a dozen women. The refrain is always one of unbelief as to how this could happen. These were the same type of folks who triggered plans to protest on the day after his inauguration on January 20, 2017.
We laugh about how women from all over the world participated on a whim. In Washington DC, 500.000 strong showed up which dwarfed the numbers of participants who showed up for the president’s inaugural events. This is the record for the largest protest ever.
I’m told that the 2017 Women’s March of 25,000 was the largest protest in St. Petersburg’s history.
A year later, people like me, Sandy, Marcella and others joined the Women’s March again, joined by some 5,000, as per police estimates.
The crowd walked down Central Avenue as it was closed off for us and the marchers chanted rhymes like, “Love! Not hate! Makes America great,” or “Out, Out, Vote them out,” “Show me what democracy looks like!” / “This is what democracy looks like!”
We marched for about, a 1/2 a mile, to arrive at Williams Park, where we sat on blankets or folding chairs. The stage was well set where all the activities could easily be viewed. In the background, there were pop-up tents where peoples were getting registered to vote, and perusing the vendors’ goodies.
As per the TBO.com news, “Most of the event was upbeat, as phone cameras captured funny signs and songs such as Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger played between speeches.”
“But some parts of the rally were more sober. At one tent, representatives from the St. Pete Women’s Collective offered blank posters where sexual assault survivors could write the name of their abuser. The Williams, Shawns, Mikes and others quickly added up to more than 100 names filling the paper.”
“At other tents, left-leaning political groups collected signatures, and vendors sold T-shirts.”
“Organizers stressed the importance of the 2018 elections, and volunteers registered voters as Democratic politicians took the stage.”
“St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman told the crowd, “We’re going to see the Women’s March become the women’s tidal wave.”
“In one of the rally’s most raucous moments, demonstrators clapped and cheered as Pinellas County School Board Chairwoman Rene Flowers passionately called for funding education, rebuilding Puerto Rico and supporting Haitians in Florida who have seen their protected status revoked. She lauded St. Petersburg’s majority-female City Council and told women in the crowd to fight for the change they seek.”
“You show up to vote. You fill the halls. You stand strong, you stand firm and you stand tall,” Flowers said.”
“That’s the takeaway for 43-year-old Ayana Flowers of St. Petersburg, who held a sign reading, “Grab em by the polls!”