Last Saturday, some 15,000 people
converged on Public Square as part of the international Women's March
. The turnout was nearly three times the number expected according to the Facebook page
for the Cleveland event. Children peppered the crowd as did senior citizens, and plenty of men marched along amid the sea of pink hats.
For those who spent time downtown during the Republican National Convention (RNC), it was impossible not to compare the two stunning events. While both were characterized by Americans exercising their First Amendment rights, the differences were unmistakable.
During those fateful days last July, there seemed to be five cops and five media representatives for every demonstrator. Conversely, Saturday's march was all about the participants with very few cops—who were thanked and bid well wishes at every turn—and even fewer members of the media. Also, no one was selling anything, which was a stark contrast to the RNC, during which vendors lined Euclid Avenue hawking tee shirts, bobble heads, buttons and all matter of miscellany. Lastly, while the energy amid the RNC felt intense and erratic with many conflicting voices
, Saturday's crowd was characterized by bonhomie and unity, so much so that the march concluded with dancing on Public Square.
For those who missed it, Fresh Water managing photographer Bob Perkoski was on hand capturing all the action.
Congresswomen Marcia Fudge, left, and Marcy Kaptur with Case Western Reserve graduate students who organized the event, Claudia Pasma and Laura Seagraves
Julia Shearson, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations addresses the crowd
State Representative Nickie Antonio addresses the rally
The march ends with dancing in Public Square