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Women’s March on Washington: Brooklynites on the front line

‘Our Brooklyn Roots Were on Display Because We Came Loud, Fired up and Nasty’

January 23, 2017 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Fifteen Brooklyn residents show off their creative signs at the Women’s March on Washington. Photo courtesy of Kenneth Ariel Arce Arroyo
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Millions of people from across the world gathered in their respective cities on Saturday to march, speak and make their voices heard.

In Washington, D.C. alone, roughly 1 million people congregated at the country’s largest demonstration, which was dubbed the Women’s March on Washington.  

The gathering is widely considered to be one of the largest protests in U.S. history.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

And of the roughly 1 million people who made the trip down to our nation’s capital, thousands of them were brazen and bold Brooklynites who came out in full force to show off their Brooklyn bravado.

“Our Brooklyn roots were on display because we came loud, fired up and nasty,” said Bushwick resident Kate, who made the trip down I-95 with 15 other Brooklyn residents. The group was a quintessential reflection of the borough in that it included men, women, young, old, black, white, straight and gay.

“My motivation for attending the march was to promote equality in both speech and action,” Kate said. “Primarily to highlight the fact that women’s reproductive rights should not be decided by a small group of men, and that we as Americans, men and women, will not tolerate such hateful language and speech against women, immigrants and people of color that is so prevalent in this new administration.”

“Being surrounded by the crowd was overwhelming in one of the best possible ways,” she continued. “The knowledge that as far as the eye could see were people practicing their democratic right and duty and were standing up together for causes we all believe should be inalienable as a citizen of the world.”

Bushwick resident CJ Ferroni, who was part of Kate’s group, described his motivation for attending the march.

“I marched for my family and friends that don’t feel represented by the current administration,” Ferroni told the Brooklyn Eagle. “I was overcome with emotion at times. I even turned to someone and said, ‘I could cry right now.’

“Living in Brooklyn, large crowds like that usually stress me out, but the crowds on Saturday were so filled with love and respect for each other that it was impossible to not be swept away by that.”

Brooklyn resident Melanie Closs at the Women’s March on Washington. Photo by Melanie Closs Brooklyn resident Melanie Closs, who runs a nonprofit called The Other Side Intercultural Theatre which empowers young girls across different cultures and countries told the Eagle why she and friends from Red Hook, Greenpoint, Ft. Hamilton Parkway and Park Slope felt the Women’s March on Washington was crucial.

“I think it’s so important that girls grow up in a world where empathy, inclusiveness and sisterhood are valued,” she said. “To march in Washington is to show unity and solidarity with my sisters and brothers who fight for the rights of every human, and show the world that we can’t normalize the Trump administration and what it stands for.”

Closs added, “I march for myself, I march for those who are not able to march and I march for the other half-million people who were there with me.”

Following the march, the Eagle asked a handful of Brooklynites to describe the march in one word. Their responses included “life-changing,” “hope,” “awesome,” “historic,” “power” and “tasteful.”

Members of the Flatbush Tenant Coalition joined the Women’s March on Washington. Photo courtesy of FTC

Acts Of Kindness

The Eagle reached out to several Brooklynites to ask them to describe one act of kindness they saw on the streets of our nation’s capital on Saturday. Below are their depictions:

“An older woman came up to me and said that she got separated from her daughter two hours prior and that she was supposed to meet her at this specific intersection,” Ferroni told the Eagle. “We got the crowd around us chanting loudly, ‘Jessica, your mom’s right here!’ But the entire day was filled with these examples.”

“I was so impressed by everyone’s patience,” said Kate. “Let me say: it was a long, cold and mostly toilet-less day, and people were extremely kind and helpful, and even when things became claustrophobic and tense, people were calm and supportive.”

“A woman photographer who had taken a bus by herself from Port Authority caught up with friends who were in our group and told how she had arrived without a battery for her camera,” said one Cobble Hill resident. “As she was bemoaning her forgetfulness, a man, who was a total stranger, said he had a spare [battery], gave it to her, along with his name and address, so she could send it back this week.”

“There was not a single piece of garbage on the ground,” said Elena Gaby.

“There were many instances of leadership, there was an involuntary sense of community,” said Raja Feather Kelly. “People continuously offered help guidance, and support to those around them. It was so simple. I wondered why it didn’t happen all the time.”


Additional reporting by Mary Frost


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