This was a spectacular event! It was the largest International Women’s Day event in many years, drawing between 3,000 and 5,000 participants according to women who attended. And yet? No newspapers, at all, in the United States have covered it. The only U.S. media outlet reporting it was Women’s E-News.
The brightly coloured banners of all shapes and sizes could be seen dotted throughout the crowds, waving proudly in the wind. It wasn’t a sunny day, and had rained at one point, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. There were women singing, women dancing to the drums, women chanting, blowing whistles, playing brass instruments, playing home made instruments, women who didn’t even know each other standing together. The atmosphere was joyful and uplifting. Leaflets, information sheets were handed out to further the support for organisations that are being closed down (Southall Black Sisters, Rape Crisis Centres).
…Survivors of domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, discrimination… Standing strong together. Women in wheelchairs attending the march, determined to show their support.
As we came towards the Trafalgar Square, the atmosphere was euphoric. We had been chanting consistently, it felt like the whole march was chanting the same one, we were nearly there. The feeling was just amazing for everybody, knowing that we had marched for our mothers, our sisters, our aunts, our daughters, our friends. Turning the corner to the rally, we saw a screen with the Million Women Rise symbol on it. A sense of triumph went throughout the crowd as we reached our point. We filled up the space in front of Nelson’s Column, awaiting the speakers we had come to support. The words on a huge screen read:
There was a selection of speakers at the rally that left many of us tearful. We could hear and feel their words, understand the meaning and the strength behind them. There were women speaking who were survivors of domestic violence, an inspiration to all as they spoke with confidence and dignity. There were representatives from national and campaigning organisations such as Southall Black Sisters; Women’s Aid; Fawcett Society; Women’s Institute; Women and Girls Network and the Rape Crisis Federation.
It was a great day, and we had the opportunity to show our support as Birmingham Feminists. People looked at our banner with, what I hope was, approvement. We made our debut at MWR, chanted with the various groups that were there, and embraced the sisterhood that we have come to know. We are proud to be women, proud to be fighting for women, and we won’t stop until we get justice.
If you go to the links below, there are many more photos of the event. I’ve been sitting here crying my eyes out over them. Oh women, can we we rise? Can we rise a million strong in every nation throughout the world next March 8? Can we rise above limiting our reports to the one incident in the event which might have marred it? What an inspiring event. I am so grateful to all who organized it and all who attended it and all who preserved it in photographs.