Current mood: Patriotic, in fact, for the first time in a long while
Today at work, while I was eating lunch, I checked out the news stories about the immigrant rights protest marches going on today (Monday, May 1st 2006). An article said that approx 100,000 people marched at noon in Downtown L.A. It also said there was another march scheduled for 4:00.
The photos I saw of all those people filling the streets were so exciting that I took the rest of the day off sick, and took the Metro Blue Line up to L.A.
It was easy to figure out which way to go. I just followed this guy:
When I got up out of the metro station at MacArthur Park, this is the scene that greeted me:
It felt like the world’s biggest picnic. The air was full of waving flags, and full of noise. There were car-horns honking everywhere, motorcycle engines revving behind me, and drums playing in several directions. voices all around me, and drums playing ahead of me. Every time a new crowd of people would emerge from the Metro station, everybody would let out a cheer.
I went west, the direction that the crowd was flowing, and pretty soon I was marching down Wilshire with everybody else. Ninety-something percent of the marchers were Latino, and almost all the songs and chants were in Spanish, but I was not made to feel out of place in the least. I know this was a protest, but it had such an amazing positive vibe that it felt more like a celebration. Almost everybody had an American flag, and there were a lot of other flags too. Lots of signs and banners as well, about half-and-half English-and-Spanish. I was delighted to be able to read everything. Although I speak almost no spanish, I guess I read it pretty well.
It was really hard for me to capture just how many people were there using only my little camera-phone. I took a couple video clips, but even those do it no justice. Here try them:
Video Cliplet, from ground-level
Video Cliplet, from the top of some stairs
My phone creates dumb 3g2 files, but I am pretty sure they are just misnamed Quicktime MOV files, so hopefully y’all can view them.
If you Really want to get an idea of the size of this, I hope you were watching the news. There were a ton of helicopters circling the whole time, and I am sure they got better shots than I did ;)
I had a wonderful time, and I must say, that if every protest was as positive, and peaceful and POWERFUL as this one was, the world would be a better place. For all of you that stayed home, you missed out on one of the most wonderful parts of living in a free country.
Now, I am going to bed. I marched three miles today, and jogged two miles back to the metro station. I am exhausted :)
EDIT: And the girl I met on the metro on the way home turned out to be my love