International House of Dan: Photos From M1

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Photos From M1

As will be noted in my upcoming post on the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, I am waiting for a clearer picture of what impact the marches had before posting an in-depth review of last Monday's events. In the meantime, though, here are a few photos from the march in Chicago:

This is at Union Park, around 10:30 a.m., the meeting point. I ran into several people I knew and finally settled in with the SEIU group. We heard speeches from Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Senator Barack Obama, and others. The park is to the right, the speakers were in a stage in the truck ahead of the one with the people on top of it.

At 11:45 we began to move, people steadily poured into Union Park until then. This picture is from when we were reaching the west Loop. It's difficult to see, but there are people for as far as there are lamp posts, as well as a similar view ahead of us.

We did not see any counterprotests along the way, but we did see plenty of bystanders, watching in awe and occasionally clapping or joining us in chants. The mood was festive, and we noticed that in just about every office building we passed, people were not working, they were at their windows watching the sea of people pass by. As we turned East on Jackson, we saw this balcony with a banner reading: "Si se puede! Yes we can!".

As we turned that corner, this was the view ahead towards Lake Michigan. Notice the people standing outside the building on the left.

A few blocks East on Jackson, this was the view to the rear of me. The last building on the left is the one where the banner hung.

I don't know how old this child was, probably around 10, but he was leading chants with that megaphone. The presence of children was significant. From infants being carried by their parents, to groups of teens carrying signs and chanting loudly. I was pleased to see that children were not taking the day to hang out at the mall, they were active participants. I was also pleased to see that it was not just Hispanic children in attendance, but also their black and white classmates supporting them. Hopefully they will take the lessons of the day to heart and remain active in the political process.

More Chicagoans hard at work while the march went past their offices.

SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff (big guy on the left), other march organizers, and Congressmembers Luis Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky (both on the right). They would soon be joined by SEIU Local 4 President Hal Ruddick and other community leaders in attendance.

One last look West on Jackson as we crossed Michigan Avenue on the way to the rally at Grant Park. I could not see the end of the procession.

We reached Grant Park at about 1 p.m., these are people pouring in to join earlier arrivals in anticipation of the rally. Did I mention we were towards the front of the march?

This is the corner of Balbo and Columbus, at the "entrance" to where the last picture was taken. This was taken at around 3:30 p.m.; people were still steadily flowing in more than two hours after I arrived.

This was taken from behind the stage. Use the flag jutting up towards the left as a reference point in the next picture to get a "panoramic" effect. At the far back you can see little "spikes" of people. These are new arrivals as well as people leaving. There was a fairly steady rotation of people coming and going, so the numbers at the rally remained lower than the total for the march, even in light of the people who did not march but came to the rally.

The flag is now on the far right. Notice the children of all races, it was great to see them participate.

I believe I took this a little after 4:00 p.m. If you look hard at the right side between the trees, you will get some sense of how many more people were at across Balbo (the rally is to my right and behind me). Groups were still arriving and being led to the rally.

I walked North on Michigan to avoid crowds on the bus ride back (incidentally, I wound up taking the wrong bus and wound up almost 30 blocks north of where I needed to be, but that's another story for another day...). I posted this picture of The Bean to prove to my family that it exists. Every time they come to visit me it's boarded up.

Aside from a political assessment of the events of M1 I can say on a personal level that it was a tremendously moving experience. I participated in solidarity and because I oppose HR 4437 and believe no law like it should ever be enacted by our Congress; but to see the people who are personally affected avail themselves of the First Amendment, to see the people "peaceably assemble ... to petition the government for a redress of grievances" showed me in no uncertain terms just how hypocritical it is of so many Americans to wish to deny the protections of our Constitution to the people who seem to understand it most.



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