WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the second day in a row, the dozen women were up and out before dawn.
On Friday morning they had done so in their hometown of Louisville, Ky., boarding a white rented van for the 12-hour drive to Washington. On Saturday they were outside Washington, boarding the Metro at about 6 a.m. for the hourlong trip to the starting point of the Women’s March on Washington. They carried the signs they had painted during a getting-to-know-you dinner back home before the trip: “Respect existence or expect resistance,” “Why are you so obsessed with my uterus?,” “We stand today so they can stand tomorrow,” “Black lives matter,” “The rise of women = the rise of the nation” and “Kentucky women stand together!”
They were early, but they were not the first. A scattering of others had signs with them on the Metro. As they neared the stage at the corner of Independence Avenue and Third Street, there were already hundreds of people, many clustered around a group who had brought box-loads of “pussy hats” knitted by women who could not be at the march. The name of the knitter was pinned to each one, along with her reason for wanting to march. The Kentucky group grabbed a hat knitted by an Oregon woman whose cause was reproductive rights.
By 8 a.m. they had secured a spot about 100 yards from the stage, in a crowd that had grown to thousands. The marchers were so densely packed that it was almost impossible to move, and basically impossible to leave. For the next six hours they would eat little and drink next to nothing, because heading for the porta-potties meant probably never getting this close to the action again. They wouldn’t sit down until dinnertime.
At 10 a.m. the program began, a nonstop parade of celebrity and history.