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Trump Year 1 Jan 20, 21 and 22

The short version of this is: Friday I made a nice protest sign that I'm pretty proud of. Saturday I marched in the Knoxville Sister March for the Women's March On Washington. And today I e-mailed Black Lives Matter and offered to march with them if they like, and also went and saw Hidden Figures which is a damn good movie.

Long version. On Friday I had the bad luck to be exposed to some of the Inauguration and was feeling a bit out of sorts as a result.

On the one hand it happened because Yonder and Back has taken to practicing together twice a week, which is pretty much a good thing. On the other hand, it happened because most of Yonder and Back is Trump supporters. We were rehearsing at Ed's house and he had the Inaugural coverage on in the other room. When we were done I didn't leave fast enough and got exposed to some of it and left before I could start saying unkind things to the TV.

Anyway. Lauren had been planning for about a week to go to Washington DC and march in the Women's March the day after the Inauguration. And along about 7:30 pm she texted me a picture of her sign for the march; it said "WE'RE STILL HERE" in blue paint on white poster board.

And I thought, hey, maybe I could make a sign for the Knoxville sister march, and Lauren said sure, come over; I'll let you use my paint and some of my poster board.

So I went over to the art building, and Lauren loaned me her paints and brushes and palette and a photocopied picture of Mr. Trump in case I wanted to just do something simple like his face with a red circle and slash or something, and then she had to go get packed and change for the trip to DC, because she was going to drive there overnight with two of her friends, march the next day, and then drive back the following night, so she needed to get going.

I was not interested in using Mr. Trump's image, but it was a handy piece of paper to flip over and sketch on the back of, so I used it to plot out how I was going to make my sign. Because "We're still here" is part of Still Here, the song I wrote the day after the election. The whole line is "We're still here, and we will not go away."

My sign was going to be "We will NOT go away" with a big symbol for Woman incorporated in it, but that took a little planning--dividing the paper into three sections for the wording, figuring out how many letters would go on each line, deciding to make the woman symbol big, and just counterchange it with the letters... by the time I had everything drawn out an hour had gone by and the sketch was a pretty nice drawing. So instead of drawing a grid on it and spending another hour transferring it to a piece of poster that was only moderately bigger, I just decided to paint in what I had and glue it down to the poster board for rigidity. So I did that.

It took me another hour, and it wasn't perfect because I don't have much experience using that kind of paint, but I thought it came out pretty well. I will probably do another for the next march (yes, I expect there will be a next) because I have some stairwell thoughts about how to do it better, but I'm pretty happy with this one.

When the paint was dry I turned it over, got out the glue stick, and smeared glue all over the image of Mr. Trump's face before flipping it back around and sticking it firmly to the poster board where no one will ever see it again. No loss.

Saturday dawned threatening rain. I was a bit concerned what that would do to my sign so I called around. The local Ship Shop couldn't laminate something on poster board but a Kinko's half a mile from Market Square, where the March was gathering, thought they could do it. So I picked up my sign, put my wallet in my con badge holder which I hung down my shirt (because I thought a dense gathering of people like a march might attract pickpockets) dressed in my canoeing clothes (which can get wet without turning cold) and my good walking boots and my rain jacket, stuffed some granola bars in one pocket, a bottle of water in another, a power brick and cord in a third and my phone in a fourth and set out.

Laminating the sign worked reasonably well. The lamination came open a little at the bottom during the march so the bottom of the poster board got a little damp but it didn't get up to the lettering.

I parked by the Knoxville Museum of Art which has several auxiliary parking lots that are usually largely empty, stopped by World's Fair Park to use the bathroom and eat the sandwich and apple I had brought, and also a couple of chocolates I bought locally, and then walked the half mile to the park, arriving quite reasonably early, I thought.

I joined the line to sign marching waivers and get a march sticker. However many more people came than the march organizers had expected, and despite printing 2,000 stickers, they ran out before I got anywhere near the front of the line. There were lots of people in line behind me also. So I just continued without a waiver or a sticker; it's a free sidewalk and nobody tried to turn me away.

I had talked to Mary B beforehand about perhaps marching together, and she and Maria C managed to find me; the crowd was big enough that it wasn't a simple matter. I also saw Karen Catlett again, my kayaking friend whom I hadn't seen for years, and the guy who taught me my first words of sign language. People were very cheerful, and I got a lot of pictures of different people's signs and people admired mine. There were people of every age from babes in arms to old folks, and while the crowd was mostly white, I did see people of color sprinkled throughout.

It rained on us at the gathering point and a lot of umbrellas came out. I didn't have an umbrella and the waterproofing on my rain jacket definitely needs to be renewed, but my sign was laminated and my canoeing clothes did their job. I did put the power brick in a plastic zip lock bag I had brought just in case. I was afraid that people might leave when it started raining but it didn't seem like anybody did. I couldn't see the speaker because of the umbrellas and I could only hear them part of the time, but that was okay.

They had to change the route of the march to one that would accommodate more people, and they asked us to keep to the sidewalks but there were so many of us we couldn't fit, and spilled out into the road. The people in the cars we passed were mostly either patient or outright jubilant, though. Waves of chanting would spill through the group "Yes we can!" And "Love not hate, makes America great" and periodic cheers. A couple of times I tried to get up on something high to get a better picture of the marching people but I don't think I ever got to a place where I could get a reasonable crowd shot--there was just too much crowd and the sight lines were too short and most of the time there were a lot of umbrellas, though the rain stopped toward the end of the march.

The police were polite and patient, perhaps because this was a women's march and most of the women were white, and beating white women just doesn't play well on the news? Anyway, I'd asked Kip to stay near a phone just in case but that turned out to be completely unnecessary. I marched, and chanted and waved my sign and had a wonderful time. A+++ Would March Again!

We finished up at Market Square again, and I kind of got tired at that point and wandered away, but I stopped in at a store on the square that had rainbow heart flags to see if they had any straight rainbow flags. They didn't, but I noticed they had an earth flag so I bought that. I've wanted one for a long time.

I saw some people on the web this morning suggesting the police had been so polite and patient with the Women's March because brutality is a tactic that doesn't play well on the TVs when used against white women. I though about that a minute and then used a web form to contact the Knoxville Black Lives Matter chapter and say that I support their cause, and am perfectly willing to march with them if they thought having a white woman present would help keep the police from getting violent (or if they just wanted another warm body.). Because if I have this power I'd like to use it for good. And if they decide they don't want that, that's cool; it's entirely their call. But I thought I'd offer.

And this afternoon Kip and I went and saw Hidden Figures which is about three of the black women calculators who worked for NASA in the early 60s. It was a damned good movie and I recommend it without reservation.


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