J20 Protestor Accounts (Washington D.C, Dupont Circle, January 20, 2001)
"The crowds (ours) were tremendous! On the route, in Dupont Circle, in front of the Supreme Court - we were all over the place...We overwhelmed the repukes - I don't care what the media reported. I gave an interview - to a kid from NJ who is doing a high school show on WGBH - a public radio in NJ. I watched 3 woodoo priestesses - garb + painted faces putting a curs on W at the swearing moment. (pictures tomorrow). I sang "Amen" with Al Sharpton (+ thousand of demonstrators)- videotape to follow. It was a joyful, energizing experience seeing all these good people - many of them very young. I feel I accomplished something today and I had all of you on my mind. The repukes avoided looking at us and were intimidated."
"It was a blast! There was a huge crowd in the morning at Dupont Circle, bright an early. There were so many creative slogans. Each speaker did an excellent job especially Granny D. and Mr. Greenberg! It got everyone fired up. Some people left prematurely and went to the parade route, so the crowd thinned out a bit. We all marched at 1:00 p.m. and headed along our "not so direct" parade rout to the Ellipse, where we booed Bush as he passed to enter the White House. It was great we were at the rear and kept the chanting going. The weather was messy, but spirits were bright, and the VoterMarch group was an extremely organized and vocal group."
"Without VoterMarch and other organizations helping bring together a wide spectrum of people, it would have been very easy for the protestors to have been labeled radical left extremists. As the latter I want to thank the moderates for coming out. We gotta hang together - united we stand, yadda yadda. Pity it took such an awful situation to bring us all together."
"From what I saw and experienced at the protest, it was a HUGE success! It was cold and damp weatherwise, but that had no effect on the energy and enthusiasm at Dupont Circle and on the parade route. I'm sure you'll get more details over the next few days, but as far as I could see, this struck a massive blow for democracy. DO NOT BELIEVE MOST OF WHAT YOU SEE ON CORPORATE MEDIA REPORTS. From what I've seen on TV (except for C-SPAN), they are completely disconnected from what really happened. There were radical groups clashing with police, but that was only a fraction of what was going on in DC. There were blacks, whites, gays, straights, old, young, atheists, nuns, punks, mainstreamers, the whole gambit, and we were all up for this thing. Much more than what I saw among the Shrubbies. [.] This was a success! Let's keep the momentum going."
"On Thursday my 74 year old Aunt passed away. My mother who is 89 was/is devastated. She wanted me to take her to the wake 40 miles from her home TODAY, funeral tomorrow. Last night when I received an RSVP from Louis Posner re: the NYC/DC March. I had to reply that I would not be able to make it. I spent the day crying - not for my Aunt, who I love - she lived a long and healthy life. I'm a realist, we'll all die someday. I cried buckets because I couldn't be with all of you who went to DC. I had been looking forward to this for weeks. I wish I could have been there!!!!!! Going to DC was a way to get the anger out over the campaign and the voter fraud in Florida. Now it'll just keep eating away at me. God Bless all of you who went and those who sent emails with updates - I'm going thru them now. I understand there is a march planned for April or May. I don't care what happens - the only way I'll miss another march is if I die."
"Dear Lou, I just wanted to congratulate you on an incredible job well done!! Our group was so pleased with the way thing were done and how organized everything was - it was an incredible task to take care of so many people and you did a fantastic job. I was on bus 198 and I also wanted to pass on kudos to Jim(?) who was in charge of our bus - he did a great job - staying calm when we couldn't get to Dupont Circle and being very organized getting us there by Metro. Please keep me on your mailing list and keep me informed of other events that you are coordinating."
This is just a little note to say thank you for all the work you have done in setting up such a tremendously successful demonstration in Washington. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to talk with you [Louis Posner] yesterday because all of us were so busy. I did get to shake hands with Les [Souci]. Today we got the snowstorm on Long Island that was predicted yesterday for Washinton. All of my Long Islanders got back safely, no injuries or arrests. Not only that, but because you provided a safe organized spot for them to demonstrate, most of them went to Dupont Circle, started to walk toward Pennsylvania Avenue and made it to the bleachers area. Unfortunately our group got to 1400 NW L just as the police were getting ready to sweep people off due to some trouble that had happened previously in the area. I called the legal numbers that your e mails had provided and they explained what was happening. I also called the Washington Post and reminded them of the legal case that allowed people to be at the sidelines and walk in groups of twenty five. I called New York News and the internet live coverage as well and let them know that something was happening there. All of them had people already on the scene. As a result of the quick, efficient work of you and your team, the interactive media, and the beautiful non-violence of the protesters the massive sweep was not made and the massive arrests did not happen. I credit the way everything was handled by Votermarch and many other people who were not going to be instigated. I can't tell you how grateful I am to every beautiful person who went. It really makes me love this country even more. The Bushes et al are not America. The powerful are not our country. The beautiful essence of why we love this country was marching with us in the streets of Washington in the rain. I look forward to bringing even more people to Washington next time to keep telling Bush that he may have the power but like the Vietnam debacle, he does not have the hearts and minds of the people. The people on our bus like Eileen Brenner of South Shore Peace group and those from the East End Helen Fitzgerald, the fifteen year old tenth grader and ninth grader from Easthampton, the eighty something novelist, the several teachers, four philosophy professors (amazing what discussions they must have had), the two IRS employees, numerous church people, Black and White, and mom with her seven year old son, I am sorry I am not mentioning all these beautiful people, felt that they were very heartened by being on this demonstration. They are enthused to continue working for a fair election system. Everyone went home feeling that there was hope and they were energized to continue organizing people to keep trying to make it better. I know I am being long winded as usual. The best of regards to you. Get much needed rest, and know you represent many numbers of people who you will never meet. Both teenage boys are going to share with their social studies classes their experience. We drop little pebbles in the pond and we never even see the ripples that generate from our little toss. Much Love"
--Susan from Suffolk
"Louis: Many thanks for organizing the protest; in addition to being a catharsis, I think we accomplished something important. The alternative was unthinkable in the face of the electoral abomination." --Bill
"I just wanted to say to all of you that protested in DC or locally that I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! What a sight you made! At first I was worried that there may be some attempt at a media blackout of the protests - after all it wouldn't look good for the country or world to know there were unhappy Americans out there, you know. But as soon as the Shrub headed down the parade route you could see protesters and their signs very clearly. Pictures of "Hail to the Thief", "The Emperor Has No Clothes", "Gore/ Lieberman" and "W" with a big red slash through it beamed their way around the world! C-SPAN and MSNBC in particular weren't afraid to pick the camera shots that showed the full extent of the protests. One memorable shot on MSNBC showed around one hundred protesters at a particular site who, almost to a person, raised their hands in the one finger salute when Bush went by - not too subtle but very eloquent. ;) And one newscaster reported that the protesters and the police outnumbered the Bush supporters in most spots along the parade route. YOU DID GOOD FOLKS!"
PROTEST SIGNS AT DUPONT CIRCLE FOR THE INAUGURATION OF GEORGE W. BUSH, JAN. 20, 2001: (1) Bush selected, not elected (2) George the Usurper (3) The Day Democracy Died (4) George Washington - the father of our country; George W. - defrauder of our country (5) Stolen election - American disgrace (6) SNUB THE SHRUB (7) The People have spoken - all five of them (8) Hail to the Thief (9) Heil to the Thief (10) Shame! (11) "GWB" - Good White Boy (12) Gotti for Chief Justice (13) NO MORE BUSHIT (14) Bushwacked by the Supremes (15) "No Count" election, "No count" President (16) America flunked Electoral College (17) Democracy amBUSHed in Florida (18) Don't blame me - I voted with the majority and my favorite: (19) Clarence Thomas - the only black vote that counted
"Berg spoke at Dupont Circle. I heard him before we marched. I heard a woman speak at Dupont Circle from Tennessee who spoke of massive violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 et al. Profoundly disturbing problems in Gore's home state. I am so proud to have been a part of the protests yesterday in DC with Voter March, and will continue to work hard for justice. yours in North Carolina, " --Nancy
"Hi, Mr. Posner, I just wanted to thank you for all the hard work you put in to make sure all of our buses got to Washington and back and had people in them. I was one of the folks traveling with the Zen Buddhists (although not directly "with" them) and I very much appreciate the trouble you went through with us. I'm glad I went to this and was glad to have the opportunity."
"just got home and I'm reading the posts to the board. I am so proud that I went to D.C. and made the yutz's day one that he will never forget. we all did good whether we were there or not. I thank the people who encouraged us from home - they were there in spirit. Each one of us counts and each ballot should have counted. We will continue to rock the house while the imposter is in it. let's hope that may march is even better (and hopefully a little warmer and drier , please!! :-) )"
"Hi Lou & Bob, I have to thank you both for giving me the opportunity of my life....the march and activities were better than even my wedding. Dave and I had a group of 55 from Michigan....and we're already working on May. Three of us ended up in the altercations at 14th & L in the front line.....have face to face video of the police then the riot police. We saw a flag burned (or something burning) and heard glass breaking though not loud and I'm not sure what it was. As this was my first protest ever I'm surprised at how brave I was to not back off from the police but the rage of this rape of democracy burned so strong in me that I stood my ground... Thank you again so much....you have given me a priceless gift in my life....our entire family, including kids and Grandma, will see you in May with a much larger group from Michigan."
"The protesters this Saturday were amazing! Wherever you went, you were not alone. We were everywhere. I hope to see more of folk's pictures and videos! I was upset to get back to Dallas and search through the Dallas Morning News though. There was very little mention of the protests. Most news centered around the flag burner, nude people, and black Panthers. Ironically, I was not even aware of these incidents during the day yesterday- yet I still was keenly aware of our numbers as we moved from road block to road block until I settled just up from 14th on Pennsylvania. I felt like part of a river- a force of Nature that would not be stopped. It was awesome! Thank-you folks who helped to organize this. You are wonderful. Thank-you everyone who could go to Washington, or who protested closer to home. You are so wonderful! Now we must tell all of our friends about our trips so that it cannot hidden and forgotten!"
"I LOVE EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO WENT. And, Louis Posner and staff, you are simply the greatest. I've heard so much about how well-organized, thoughtful, safe, and elegant this protest was. You did it. Best to you, "
"My wife, her sister and I went to DC for the counter-inaugural protests. While it was cold and wet, we had a great time. We left Boston after 11:00 p.m., and got into DC at about 9:30 a.m. We took the Metro to Dupont circle, where thousands had already gathered and speeches and chants were going on. The signs and individual comments were fantastic--I wish I could remember more of them. There were flags with $ signs in the canton, lots and lots of "the people have spoken--all FIVE of them!" At 1:00, the march began to the Ellipse. It was a somewhat confusing, exhilarating, wet and exhausting day. There were, indeed, tens of thousands of us in DC; but we were spread out at many different sites. No matter where you went in DC, there were protestors everywhere. It was uplifting to see so many people so fired up about the theft of this election. The chants were moving: BUSH, CHENEY, GOP, THIS IS NOT DEMOCRACY!! and the more mundane WE'RE WET--WE'RE COLD--DEMOCRACY'S BEEN SOLD."
--Dan in Salem
"Just got home from DC a while ago! What an inspiring experience! It was great to be surrounded by people I knew felt like I do about the election, which is not a common experience where I live! It was wet and cold, but that didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirit! My husband I got to Dupont Circle at about 10:15, and spent a lot of time just walking around trying to see all the great signs. We heard someone announce that we should start marching soon, and then a few minutes later people started towards P Street, so we followed along! We all went along in the middle of the streets, chanting and waving at supporters in the buildings along the way. The protestors were really great. I just loved the feeling that we were really working together to show that not everyone was satisfied with the result of the election. It was funny to me to read stories later about people saying the protestors were scary or seemed dangerous. There were older people with us, and families with their children. What an experience, I'm so glad I went, and I can't wait to go back in May! Hope to see you all there!"
"Up on the stage, the view showed the circle full, and every side walk from 6 streets intersecting Dupont Circle was almost full for a block...crowd estimate, then at 15,000. When I got up to the mic, I felt a momentary terror, but as I started to speak, I felt at home, when the crowd responded to "We The People, and continued repeating it, so I could add the lyrics...."Whose got the power?" "Who really has control?" "Bush Cheney don't have it...the Partisan 5 Supreme Court Justices, they don't know" "We the people, must exercise control" "'Cause we the people...sharing..the same soul" : they were still doing it (singing): I knew I was at home and our hearts were beating as one. I may never have this experience again, so I will not forget it."
- Les Souci
"The rally at Dupont Circle was wonderfully arranged and managed. It fired me up, particularly Michael Collins! The march itself was a positive experience too. I had my 10-year old daughter with me and she was moved by it. Part of me, particularly since I had my daughter with me, is glad that everything went so smoothly."
"Just wanted to say thanks for organizing the bus transportation. Everything went as planned -- our bus got there in plenty of time and left on time in the afternoon. Good job! I imagine we will be doing this trip several times in the next four years. It's nice to have a reservation system that makes it so easy. Could you arrange better weather next time? The hail did fit in well with the "hail to the thief" chant, but still ... Thanks,"
"Just wanted to say what a fantastic experience this was for me! If there is a million voter march, I will definitely participate. Dubya really did prove to be a uniter after all--he united a myriad of different groups of people who would never agree on a lot of other issues. He united us against his theft of the Oval Office. He united us enough to get us all out in the rain to protest his reign. We may disagree on a million different things, but we all agree that in a democracy you are supposed to count all the votes. So he united us after all. I pray that we all stay united in this goal of returning democracy to our nation. As we chanted on the march, "The people, united, will never be defeated!"'
Our Crowd: Welcoming Bush as he Sneaks in the Back Door
By David Lytel of Democrats.com
"Despite an attempt by some media outlets to dismiss the protests on January 20th, I believe that the message was heard by all. I was unable to make the trip, much to my dismay, but I did spend the day watching the TV and coverage of the event. While some of the media tried to dismiss the protest and diminish the actual numbers of protesters, the live coverage of the parade could not be edited. On all the stations covering the parade, the protest was very loud and visible along the parade route. The media was forced into showing it and at some points even expressed concern for the safety of the Shrub. It was quite evident by the speeding up of the motorcade at several points along the route, that the protest was making an impact. I have been watching politics since the days of Nixon. No President in my memory had to endure what the Shrub did on the 20th. I also like to observe and listen to peoples reactions about politics without soliciting a response from them based on my beliefs. I have not encountered one person that did not mention the protest when speaking of the inauguration, liberals and conservatives alike. I believe the message got out loud and clear and it will always be remembered when this inauguration is mentioned in history. The key now, is not to let up. The fight must continue on. If not, the Shrub wins and we will be dismissed by him as simply disgruntled voters left over from the election. By staying focused and united we can help shape the destiny of the next four years and see to it that he is replaced by a candidate chosen by the people."
"This is a belated thank you for all your effort in getting the inaugural protest off the ground and getting a permit for us to march, a direction in which to march, an identity and a recipe for a safe passage through the day of January 20. I am writing on behalf of the hundred or so North Carolinians who followed my lead to DC on Jan.20, and I think I can speak for all of them in extending our thanks to you and Mr. Bob Hawk and probably a number of other individuals whose names are not known to me. I simply want you to know that there were no complaints from our group;' we had a great experience; every single one of us wants to participate in the next protest in DC; it was an exhilarating and fulfilling experience for all of us. And, as far as I am concerned, it was a feat to pull it off, given the short amount of time and the limited resources that were available to mount such an effort. So, we thank you sincerely and hope you will follow through on your plan to do a great big unforgettable, history-making march in May."