Tonight, I photographed a fairly informal rally protesting President Donald Trump’s rescinding Title IX protections for transgendered individuals in schools. Even though it is a federal law, and still technically protects these children, the administration is effectively refusing to acknowledge their identities. In even more layman’s terms: if a student is harmed, because they use the bathroom or gendered facility that corresponds with their gender, the federal government doesn’t care. It will not protect these children. Instead, the administration is ‘leaving it up to the states’ to decide whether or not to honor the federal law.
But just because the government doesn’t value the lives of trans children does not mean they are supported by the majority.
This is the body politic.
The day of the Inauguration, all I saw from the mainstream media was a concentrated focus on the violence within the protests that day.
The protests I saw and photographed in the morning and towards the afternoon were vastly different. The DisruptJ20 group stated over and over that it was looking for nonviolent civil disobedience.
Later, I did witness people throwing rocks at the police, and did see reports that people had broken the windows of Bank of America. I won’t lie about that, or downplay it, but my job – as is the job of all newspeople – is to report everything. So, here is what I am reporting, simply because this is the majority of what I saw. Also, frankly, I am sure you’ve seen the image of the burning limo from TIME Lightbox more than once now. Yes. That did happen, and it was done by people calling themselves anarchists. I don’t know if they were affiliated with DisruptJ20.
Here, you will see protestors blocking off an entrance to an inaugural check point, at 10th Street & E Street, in front of the Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, District of Columbia. You will see a Trump supporter throwing himself against them, trying to get through. You will see police starting to ring protestors in, at a grassy space near L Street later in the day. But you will not see violence or threat from the protestors at the blockade point, or at the grassy space, because that is not what I witnessed, when I was photographing them.
(Note: I did want to photograph the conflict between protestors who were throwing rocks and the police, who were in riot gear, but I also needed to keep myself safe and functioning, since I was supposed to meet up with a reporter and a bus of Massachusetts women the following day for the Women’s March – which, of course, did not happen, as you will see from my post yesterday.)
I attended and photographed the Women’s March on Washington today in Washington, District of Columbia. The march was organised to protest President Donald Trump and his administration.
The turnout was staggering. I was trying to meet up with a reporter from The Patriot Ledger, to go with her to find a specific bus of women coming from Taunton, Massachusetts, but there were so many people, I could only make it to the intersection of 6th Street and Independence Avenue. And that was at 10 a.m.
The media reports the organisers estimated about 500,000 people attended, but I personally believe it was more. When I say the streets were jammed, I am not exaggerating. It took between 15 and 30 minutes to go 100 feet, and my mother, sister and I ended up walking for about 90 minutes to finally find a way back home. For reference, my sister lives on Virginia Avenue, up in the 20-block. We should only have had to walk 30 minutes, maximum, to make it home.
As a journalist, this event was one of the most significant I have covered to date, and I am thrilled to have gotten the opportunity. As a person who has watched their and their loved ones’ hard-won rights come once again under fire, it was exhilarating. I am more hopeful than I was 24 hours ago. And tomorrow, I will feel more hopeful still.
(Yes, I am posting these photos, before I post all the photos I made yesterday of the Inauguration Day protests, so stay tuned!)