Yesterday was the Women’s March. I was lucky enough to be a part of it. Tallulah and I drove down to London and met up with a bunch of friends old and new to be a part of women around the world making history. I say women. What I mean is ‘everyone.’
I’d been excited about it for about two weeks beforehand. The night before I couldn’t sleep. When I finally started driving through thick fog down the M1 I got that horrible sinking feeling, that ‘what if it’s a damp squib?’ feeling.
It wasn’t a damp squib. It was a bastard massive flare shooting into the sky is what it was, and I loved every minute of it, even the standing around freezing my bits off in Grosvenor Square.
There were a lot of people you see. A lot. I heard someone say she’d asked a policeman when she arrived how many people they were expecting to turn up. Apparently he said two or three hundred. We did a little better than that. There were one hundred thousand of us.
Actually, globally, conservative estimates give a figure of 2.5 million of us marching yesterday. All together, all in solidarity. All working as one.
There were so many of us in Grosvenor Square that it took well over an hour for us to get out. At one point we thought we’d just have to stay there, the sheer number of us was so great. By the time we actually got properly under way our feet were like blocks of ice and it was difficult remembering how to put one foot in front of the other. We were helped by a bunch of LGBT activists who were having a disco march within the march and that soon warmed us up.
It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. It was a joy and a privilege to be there. As we marched, and chanted and sang and celebrated together the mood got better and better. It was more like a party than a protest. It was wonderful to see so many different people with so many different philosophies, calls to arm, beliefs and ideas all coming together peacefully to make a stand. It was everything I ever dreamed a march could be.
There were babies in buggies and slings. There were toddlers on scooters. Parents marched with their children on their shoulders. People marched with their dogs. There were people in wheelchairs being pushed, there were old people and young people, men and women, people of all faiths, colours, creeds and genders. There were people dressed up. There were people dressed down. There were famous people. We spotted Mark Gatiss in the crowd. Even Dr. Who was there. There were non famous people. Me, for one. There were people marching for all kinds of causes, and proving that there was room for everyone.
There was no violence at all, no problems, no sense of threat. The few policemen I saw were chatting and laughing with the marchers and looked to be enjoying themselves as much as we were. A lady had a huge shopping bag filled with snack packs that she’d made up for hungry, thirsty marchers. She’d taken the time to stick slogans on the bags to keep people’s spirits up. There was a lady who had a bag full of pink pussy hats she’d made and was giving them out to people who didn’t have hats. People were offering placards and badges and just generally being kind and brilliant and generous and resourceful and downright lovely.
Half way down Piccadilly I could see up as far as Trafalgar Square and it was wall to wall people. I turned and walked backwards and you could see as far as Park Lane and it was still wall to wall people, and they were still coming as I marched. It was awesome in the absolutely truest sense of the word.
By the time we reached Trafalgar Square the speeches were over. They’d been over for a while, and still the Square was full and still people were arriving. It was just perfect.
Yesterday I saw in action on the streets of my favourite city in the world, people coming together to be what I believe we can be all the time. They showed me a future I’ve sometimes doubted we deserve. They showed me that we are many, our voice is loud. They made me believe again that we can do this. There is another way and it isn’t such an impossible dream. They showed me what equality looks like in real time with real people and I loved it.