CAMERON COOPER GOES TO WASHINGTON

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By Cameron Cooper

I left New York Thursday evening for Washington, D.C. (the day before the inauguration) with a mixed group of activists and humanitarians. On Friday we were invited to an participate in an event  called Watch Us Run. The event was a day long panel discussion which was sponsored by The Huffington Post and Bustle and held at the National Press Club which is a very historical institute in D.C.

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The panels were on various topics such as “What Does It Take To Run For Office” “The Role Of The Media” and “What Does It Mean To Be An Artist”. All of the panels were made up only of woman and all were moderated by woman which was a kick off for the next days Woman’s March. Some of the participates were Sandra Fluke, American attorney and woman’s rights activists, Zainab Salbi author and commentator, Bob Bland, co-chair for the Women’s March, and actress Jackie Cruz from Orange is the New Black. The conversations were inspiring and uplifting on such a troublesome day with what was happening just a few blocks away. The woman also discussed programs, websites, different methods that everyone can do to voice their opinions and to fight back against the opposition. The only person participant who was not a woman was keynote speaker Michael Moore. Moore’s speech was timed as the inauguration was happening. Moore started by asking us all to just take a minute to scream and yell as an act of defiance and protest but also as a small rally against the incoming president. He spoke on so many different topics and told a handful of amazing stores that frankly my review will not do his speech justice. He called upon us to take action, call your congressperson everyday 202-225-3121 to voice your opinion and outrage and to ask where your congressperson where they stand on certain issues. He also said he’s never been arrested but is willing to do so if that’s what it takes to send a message to the White House. He also gave a glimmer of hope by predicting that our new president will not be in office for four years because he will do something so illegal as president that his supporters along with the citizens of our country will not tolerate it what so ever.

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We spent some time walking round D.C. where it was a mix of new president supporters (I will NOT put his name in this piece as an act of protest) and protesters. We did not see any scuffles with police, although we did hear about some and see some on social media. We did see broken windows that were being repaired, but it is important to note that we do not know who broke these windows (whether it was supporters or protesters), although some media outlets would report this differently.

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The next day was the Women’s March on Washington. Our group arrived around 10 AM in hopes to participate in a pre-march mediation. However the mall was filling up fast that congested streets and paths made it difficult to get to the area where the mediation was happening so we skipped it and went right to the rally that preceded the march. We could not hear the speeches, but we could see the jumbo screen during the speech with the iconic women’s activist Gloria Steinem.  When the march finally began the crowd had swelled so much that moving was slow and marching was non-existent at first. Once we got going the marching and chanting was under way. One of my favorite chants was “We will not go away welcome to your first day!” We saw dozens of signs being held by every type of person you can think of. Every gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and class was represented. We also carried our own signs that we made the night before that broadcasted such slogans as “My body is not your battle ground” “I march for those without a voice”, we also made big black cutouts of the word “NO” and big black peace signs. We all wore rectangle fabric in various colors that read “Imagine Equality” (mine is still pinned to my coat which I continue too wear) which united us in the march.

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At the end of a long and emotional day we walked to a local tavern to rest and get some food and drinks and discuss our day. We noticed signs being left on the White House lawn and other parts of the city that were highly visible to symbolically mark the day with messages of protest in hopes that those who oppose us will read them and stop and think. I can not describe the range of emotions I have felt on this monumental voyage. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to participate in all that I experienced this weekend. Please continue to protest, resist, speak out and volunteer, it is up to us to never be complacent against injustice and oppression.

With LOVE,
Cameron Cooper.

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