I didn't get to any of the Women's Marches. I was really looking forward to taking pictures with my trusty camera and come home with a photo documentary of this historic day. But it wasn't meant to be. But what could I do to be part of this day in our history? What could I do to continue this revolution that has awakened all of us? Well duh! I'll use my creativity and continue the momentum.
My political voice is different. I vote but I’m not one to call my local representatives or senators. There are many wonderful people better at this than I am. My voice is in the power of art. So I put out a call on Facebook "If you marched and want to participate in a photo documentary I’d love to photograph you and hear your story".
Since 1/21 I've done 21 photo shoots of a diverse group of people. The photos reflect the enthusiasm, concern, passion and awakening. I decided to make a book and donate the proceeds to the Mid-Hudson Planned Parenthood. The book is still being edited but these are their stories. Please share and visit the Facebook Group
First up: T Jillian Hanlon
Marched in DC
I have been an activist since the late 1980’s, and a feminist since childhood, long before I transitioned from the male role.
I was incredibly disappointed – and fearful – of what Trump’s election would mean to the nation, to women, to people like me. After the election, and several days of funk, I realized this was a singular moment in history, and I would be damned if anyone would erase me from my country and community that I served for the past 32 years as first responder and police officer.
We arrived at the pick up point January 21, at 2:00 o’clock in the morning, three buses worth of bleary-eyed activists. The bus was a disaster, with seats made for the Flintstones, and a bathroom that thankfully had no light.
A young woman asked if the seat next to me was taken. Tracey and I talked some, slept some, and by the time we arrived in DC, it felt like we had known each other for years. I knew about her career, her family, her pets. I learned about what it was like to grow up in New Orleans, a city I have yet to visit. We had choice seats when we got on the Metro, but by the time we landed at L’Enfant Plaza, the car was so full that the doors had trouble closing. Our little group joined the river of people up and out of the terminal.
We wanted to be ready for the tabloid headlines in case we were arrested, so we called ourselves, “The Rhinebeck Nine.”
At Independence Avenue, our assembly point, the crowd began to build. Soon movement became impossible. Even EMS could not respond since no room existed to move out of the ambulance’s way. Yet, even as small groups of people squeezed through the crowd, strangers helped shepherd them so their groups didn’t get separated. We couldn’t hear or see the speakers; there were too many people, and too few videotrons. A palpable sense of tension built, like a balloon reaching beyond its skin.
No burst, but a joyous shout, and the crowd moved towards the Mall. Chants started, and like a stadium wave, traveled down the parade. At the end, the crowd broke up, instantly leaving huge, empty spaces. I went to meet a friend, and told the Rhinebeck Nine to go along without me. Bad idea. Metro stations closed from the overflow. I ran almost two miles before finding a station without city block wrapping lines. I squeezed on the arriving train, only seconds to spare.
And then the train broke down. For three hours. We sang and talked without anxiety or frustration. People shared what food they had. I worried I would miss the bus, but amazingly, the Rhinebeck Nine were on the same train!
Our nation’s history pivots. The love and positivity shown that day can overcome the casual and mealy hatred that propelled a white supremacist into the White House. Of this, I am sure.
©2017 Nadine Robbins. Unauthorized use of the images and copy from these stories is prohibited.