January 24, 2017

Sketches from the Memphis Women's March

I attended the Memphis Women's March on Saturday and made some sketches in a small Moleskine Cahier notebook with a Pigma Graphic 1 pen and a Hi-Tec-C Coleto 5-color pen. Sadly, I did not bring anything pink to sketch with, which may have made the job easier, but I wanted to keep the materials minimal. I had never participated in a march before and didn't know what to expect.

We gathered at the Shelby County Courthouse, also known as the Judge D'Army Bailey Courthouse except on official Shelby County websites (rolls eyes at official Shelby County). Adrienne Bailey, the late Judge Bailey's wife, spoke to the crowd and got us ready to go!

I was amazed at all of the signs - they were everywhere! The night before I attended a sign-making party at the home of my brother and sister-in-law, and my niece Somerset made a sign that says "The Future is Female." The future is Somerset!

 More signs.

As we started marching south on Second Street, I was a little overwhelmed by all of the people. I didn't know where to look and I couldn't tell where I was in relation to the front or the back. So I did what I do and I started sketching as I marched.

An amazing variety of people marched that day. The crowd was estimated at 9,000 people, almost 1% of the population here. There were young, old, wheelchair-bound, and cane-walking, and a variety of nationalities present.

And while I did see many people of color present, the outreach to African Americans by organizers was weak. There are twice as many black people in Memphis as white people, and white people should know by now that we have to make the effort to be inclusive - we can't just expect African Americans to show up when they have been shut out of so much here. We can't just expect gratitude when they have been fighting all along without us. I was happy to see those who attended, and I hope we do better next time.

One of the wonderful things about the day was running into people I knew - family members, friends, fellow artists, co-workers, and people I don't see often enough.

The people I saw that I didn't know were all so polite and happy to be there. At one point I thought to myself that with this many white women present we're just going to hear a big chorus of "sorry" the whole time.

We marched about a mile down to the National Civil Rights Museum, where others had already gathered with their signs on the lawn. Our group was so far back that we missed the speakers, but we heard cheering so I'm sure they were inspirational!

Afterwards people remained on the lawn, not wanting that good feeling to end. I sincerely hope that we continue to carry that feeling with us, and that we take this momentum to move forward in a strong and positive way.


Joan Tavolott said...

Great job sketching the march!!!

Joan Tavolott said...

Great sketches from the march!!!

Elizabeth Alley said...

Thanks Joan! :)

Alvin Wong said...


A Collection of Women March sketches.

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