Athena Talks
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Athena Talks

Drawing The 2018 Women’s March

More than 200,00 people marched and I drew a few

I arrived at the Women’s March in NYC around 10:30am and easily moved to the press area. There was a buzz of activity and musicians were onstage testing equipment. I had seen protesters — many with signs and pink hats — on the subway on my way to Columbus Circle, but the area was not crowded yet.

A volunteer who was so cheerful, it was clear she would never need or want to use her megaphone.
I interviewed this mother and daughter pair

While I waited for the speakers to begin, I interviewed a mother and daughter standing next to me, and the video of me drawing them along with audio interview can be seen here.

As soon as the program began, the area got very crowded. I was able to draw the first speakers, but soon was unable to draw anymore because it was too crowded. And it was freezing, my hand wouldn’t really function until it warmed up.

Opening speakers of the rally

I left the stage area and after warming up in a cafe, began walking around. Columbus Circle was amass with people, most of whom appeared to be there for the march. Traffic was nowhere to be seen, and baracades attempted to keep people contained to certain areas. I overheard someone say the marchers were backed up to 84th street (Columbus Circle is at 59th). They were waiting for the marching to begin once the speaker part of the rally was over.

I wandered around somewhat aimlessly, looking for interesting subjects to draw. I stumbled on a table set-up for children to draw and write signs for the protest.

And saw a family with very enthusiastic daughters holding signs. They posed for me.

There were signs everywhere, and I tried to chose the ones that were more positive in nature. As I saw it, the march was about a variety of concerns: extreme disagreement with President Trump, hope and desire for women’s and girls’ rights, a call to get out the vote and a call to elect more women to public office. One woman just stood in the middle of the street and held her sign for a long time. Another group of young women expressed their strong feelings, chanting and holding their signs about the importance of diversity in the women’s movement.

A father had brought his two sons, and they posed for me. I had not seen any boys of any age, so I thanked these two for being there.

Some of the other signs I saw:

I started to walk south as the march began, following them at a distance because the police would not let us get close.

The man on the left took the opportunity to hose down the street.

As I watched the marchers and drew them, I had the chance to hear a policeman standing next ot me answer quite a few questions from passers-by. He was patient and quite funny. To one questioner, he said,

Are those angry people with pink hats bothering you?”

THis policeman was very funny and kind

Eventually, I got closer to the marchers as they turned onto Central Park South. Sign carrying on-lookers stood on the rock wall in the park, across from my position on the sidewalk.

I enjoyed watching people watching the march, too. Sign carriers were asked to stop for photos, and people generally just hung out on the sidelines observing the mass of humanity marching down the street. Sometimes the marchers were thick in numbers and moved as if one unit. Other times it was thinner. It was fun to see doormen stand by their buildings on Central Park South, watching the marchers. One man was looking out the window and smiled broadly at me as the march reflected behind him in the window.

Around 45th Street, the marchers began to disperse, being told by police — there were a LOT of cops everywhere — to turn right and head towards Broadway. Everyone dutifully did, politely and quietly. As I headed that way too, I saw pink hatted protesters looking for food and drink. I saw them go into into pubs and coffee shops. Hot dog anyone?

Just as I left the area, I spotted a group of people looking down at the street, between several baricades arranged in a triangle. Apparently, marchers had been tossing their signs into the pile of signs. To be thrown away? Used again? Or perhaps saved in a museum.

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Liza Donnelly

Liza Donnelly

Visual journalist/writer for New Yorker, New York Times, WaPo, CNN. TED, SXSW speaker. Looking to change world w humor. newsletter:https://lizadonnelly.substack