In the mid-sixties I took a bus to Washington DC to protest the Vietnam war. We all chipped in and loaded up on a bus on Central Park West and 100th street. The bus was full of life and singing the songs of Bob Dylan and Peter Paul and Mary. The long drive seemed like minutes and we poured out of the bus near the Reflecting Pool and joined thousands of others protesting.
I squirmed through the crowds to find a good place to stand. It was one of the first times I was with a giant group of people who were doing something so positive. Their politics matched mine and they felt the same about human nature. They had American flags, all of us did. We all sang, “If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning, I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land!” The love was palpable.
The police were everywhere. Under the guise of protecting us, we knew they were their to protect other people from whatever we did. But all we wanted was peace. We knew we weren’t going to storm the White House.
We had signs protesting the war. Abbie Hoffman spoke. This lead to a string of protests I attended. Be it Women’s Rights, the War, anti-Semitism or sit ins wrapped in American flags – I did it! It was an incredible time when huge masses of people forced society forward, and I was one of them.
The one thing I didn’t attend was Woodstock. I was really focused on my studies and activism at Pratt at the time. We were protesting to have our curriculum changed and as architects we drew structures all over the streets. We sang, we marched and we won. The people I knew who went to Woodstock were on a lot of drugs and alcohol and I felt much more comfortable with people I had more in common with. Basically I didn’t think it was going to be anything but a big drug fest, which I think its sort of was. But in the end we all were breaking barriers and fighting our rights. Even at Woodstock!
I am proud our country has the opportunity to vote for a Woman President today. Whether she wins or looses, I’m part of the reason she is able to run at all and I’m proud of that. I’m only 78, but it’s about time!