and I went to a rally this afternoon in Copley Square to protest Trump's executive order banning visitors from several majority-Islamic countries and suspending admissions of all refugees. The rally was put together by CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) on about 24 hours' notice; there were at least 20,000 people there, per Elizabeth Warren's tweet.*
Copley Square was packed (though the crowd thinned out near the edges); as with the women's march on the Common last weekend, we could make out only tiny bits of what the speakers said. I know that Warren, and Boston mayor Mary Walsh, spoke, and before and after that, the crowd was chanting "Where's Governor Baker?" (Baker is a Republican.) Much of the time, there were different chants in different areas of the crowd; I don't know whether a better sound system would have helped with that, but it might have let us hear the speakers. However, from what anne
reports, CAIR barely had time to get the permits for this rally, and sound equipment costs money and might not be available on that kind of notice even if the money was there. The main thing was to be there, to be seen and counted.
As we were making our way from the red line to the green line at Park Street, we ran into someone who, like us, had gotten out on the wrong side of the train,** and said something like "I'm following you." I suggested this might not be a great idea because we were lost, but we sorted that out, exchanged names, and decided to stick together for a bit. She moved to Boston more recently than we did, also from Seattle (she didn't grow up there either) and is still figuring out the T. (I mostly have the T figured out, but Park Street is complicated, and in slightly different ways than the complications I grew up with in New York.) We got onto the green line together, rode two stops, and talked while we were walking over to Copley Square. (She was asking if I knew good places to find out about rallies, and I made a couple of suggestions, and handed her the business cards I almost never use, saying "this is also a business card, but it has my contact information.")
Like last weekend, we left the rally early because we ran out of stamina for standing around, though we were there for most of it. Also like last weekend, we took the train all the way to Alewife and walked, this time because I suddenly didn't want to even think about getting on a bus. It looked as though they were running extra trains on the red line before the march; the nearest green line station to the rally, Copley, was closed because of the crowd, but they announced that on the train, and we took their suggestion of getting off at Arlington. The green line stations are very close together in that part of town.
Next time, I'm taking iced tea instead of (or in addition to) water, and making sure I have cough drops. I don't have the stamina for standing around at rallies that I used to, and I don't know if I can rebuild that, but even if we can't stay for the entire event, being there is useful. I should also bring a sign next time; even if I don't get around to getting the nice white cardboard that's made for this, and a good set of markers, we have empty cardboard boxes and a Sharpie, which will do for something basic.
* I followed my senator's twitter account this morning along with replying to a previous tweet, to thank her for going to Logan last night to protest this. I would have left a voicemail message, but the mailbox was full.
** The red line has a center platform at Park Street that serves trains in both directions, the train doors open on both sides ("for elevator service exit from the left side of the train"), and I don't know if there was a stairway from there that would have put us on the correct green line platform.