Karen I. Hirsch Photography

Women's March in Chicago

Monday, January 21, 2017

The Women's March in Chicago echoed the sentiment shared around the world.  In Washington D.C. Denver, Los Angeles and hundreds of cities and communities across the United States as well as abroad including London, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Nairobi, Accra, Sydney, even Antarctica.   In reaction to Donald Trump's election, the women as well as many men demonstrated for their beliefs in women's rights, their concern for the planet due to global warming, their support for the LGBTQ community, their fear that health care may be affected negatively, and Trump's affinity for the Russian president Putin.  Love and kindness were themes that permeated the signs held up by the demonstrators.

Many women wore pink knitted hats with "ears" in humorous protest to Trump's "pussy" remarks made in the notorious Access Hollywood tape.

In Chicago, more than 150,000 people, three times more than anticipated, gathered in Grant Park and in downtown streets. In fact so many had congregated, that after the speakers had concluded their remarks, the organizers called off the march portion of the program because movement was hampered.  However, many did manage to walk west on Jackson Avenue, the original route.

When I arrived at Grant Park,I found myself quickly in the thick of things.  Although I never managed to get to the stage, I could watch the speakers on a jumbotron monitor set up in the Park.  Loud speakers broadcasted the speeches to the audience.  I was able to maneuver by using the aisle set aside for an emergency exit which divided the crowd.  

To my surprise, I spotted a friend who was in my France abroad college program in the crowd.  She said that she knew another colleague from our group was there somewhere and within minutes, we happened to see her as well. Small wonder. Another friend from my past popped up out of the crowd as I tried to maneuver my way back to Michigan Avenue.  As I made some headway, I realized that the guy walking next to me looked familiar.  It turns out that I had seen him many times on the TV show "Sex in the City."  It was David Eigenberg who is currently on "Chicago Fire."  

Once I arrived on Michigan Avenue, I looked for a higher vantage point to photograph the crowd.  Originally I thought I'd go to the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago, but found a point right by Jackson Avenue that served me well.  I could photograph the people marching west from Grant Park and also point my camera west towards Sears Tower.  That's where I stayed until the majority of the group had passed by.

Going home was no easy task, as the buses had been rerouted due to the street closings. No cabs were in sight. After walking for about a mile, I was happy to see my bus and got on. The bus had to make a long stop along the way, because another group of demonstrators headed toward Trump Tower had blocked our path.  It gave me a chance to pause and reflect on the meaning of this historical day.