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Photo Essay: Artists Make Waves at the Women's March NYC 2018

By MERYL MEISLER, JAN. 2018

It feels like eternity since the 2016 election. I dread peeking at the headlines. What vile things did the SCROTUS and his team of creepy clowns say and do today?

Thankfully, the signs of reliance and resistance are evident and unwavering. An estimated 200,000 protesters attended the Women’s March NYC on January 20, 2018 and there were hundreds of thousands more in sister marches nationwide and around the world.

Last year, I rode a bus with Congregations Beth Simchat Torah, the LGBTQ synagogue that “walks with its feet” to The Women’s March DC. This year, I rode a subway and walked with We Make America, an artist/activist collective carrying “Pussy Gates” and gigantic Blue Waves symbolizing the turning of the political tide to blue in upcoming elections. We Make America was greeted with cheers along the March route.

As an artist and retired art teacher, I was invigorated by the powerful messages creatively expressed in signs, costumes, and music. Simpler handwritten signs such as “Hometown Boy Makes Bad” and “You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This March Is About You” also made a strong impression on me. After all, we need a little laughter to go along with the hope. My 3-year-old grand-niece Layla Meisler (who has attended 6 marches) wrote and carried her thoughtful message “BE KIND.”

I overheard people likening the Women’s and other resistance marches to those that came before: the marches led by ACT UP AIDS activists, Vietnam War protesters, anti-nuclear demonstrators, supporters of environmental causes, and fighters for civil rights and equality. At the Women's Marches, people walked in support of their Muslim neighbors, immigrants, DACA Dreamers, #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, and a myriad of related causes. (Luckily, I didn’t see any supporters of white supremacy or neo-nazis.) At one point, the crowd was soulfully singing “We Shall Overcome,” and it morphed into “We’ll Get Rid of Trump.”

Yes, it’s been a long year, and it's simply mind-boggling to think about what’s lurking ahead in the next three. Yet after participating in both Women's Marches, I came away feeling even more resolved. To those whose hope is waning: whatever you do, don’t give up. Remember the positive results of recent elections in Virginia and Mississippi. The midterm elections are coming. Do what you can to help get out the vote and turn the tide blue, for the sake of Democracy and for the future of a nation by the people, for all people. We Shall Overcome! WM

All photos by Meryl Meisler.

 


 

Meryl Meisler

Meryl Meisler is an artist whose practice is based in photography. After retiring from a 3-decade career as a public school art teacher in New York City, she began revealing large bodies of unseen work. Her monographs A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick and Purgatory & Paradise: Sassy 70s Suburbia & The City have received international acclaim. Today, Meryl is at work on the photographic memoir she began in the 1970s, which promises to be sweet and sassy with a pinch of mystery.

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