We stood in the crowd on 6th Street between Olive and Grand. Packed. We could see in the distance, the mirrored building of the jewelry center that faced Pershing Square. Every now and then a chant would ripple through the crowd.
The time to march came and went. We stood. Talked. Cheered. Laughed. Talked some more. We were a group of fifteen in a sea of thousands. Moms and kids. Surrounded by other moms, dads, grandparents, kids, babies in carriers. People who get cranky waiting for a light to change, or for a line to move. But we stood. Unconcerned. Happy to be there.
After who knows how long, the crowd in front of us faced us and started pointing back toward Grand Avenue chanting, “Move back, move back.” The people behind became the people in front of us, and we moved away from the planned route on an alternative path to City Hall. We walked in a sea of people, holding signs, paced with a regular drum beat.
When we arrived at City Hall, the mainstage speakers were gone, but the masses remained. Hope and resilience filled the streets of Los Angeles. Kindness, compassion, and acceptance made difficult bottlenecks surmountable.
Going home, the Red Line train offered standing room only. A seated passenger looked up and said they had caught the train going north and had claimed their seats once the train turned southbound, “We had to go back to go forward.” A recurring theme for the day.
The next four years will present much more than crowded streets, but I believe the spirit that filled downtown Los Angeles and cities all over the US on Saturday will prevail. Being there was a reminder of who we are, who we come from, what we stand for, and what we refuse to relinquish.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesday. Read more slices here.