Half a million people marched on Washington, DC in a show of force to stand up for human rights, and the country noticed. In cities all around the country many smaller concurrent marches and rallies were held for the same reason. Women, men, and children gathered to be seen and heard standing up for what they believe in.

Estimates show that the Miami, FL may have had a march “only” as big as those in Hartford, CT, Ithaca, NY, and Lansing, MI. But January 21, 2017 wasn’t a day about size. It was about scope, and it was about impact.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like!

The Women’s Rally in South Florida was meant to be a gathering in downtown Miami, just off Biscayne Avenue. When the gates to the Bayfront Park Amphitheater were closed to overflow attendees, however, the rally turned into a spontaneous march. With no visible formal direction, the gathered masses simply started walking north along Biscayne. A few people tried to direct the masses one way or another, but the people kept going north.

Past the port, past the basketball arena, past the mall. Each step northwards was accompanied by one of a handful of chants or the sound of cars honking in both support and frustration. Moving steadily toward the highway.

Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Donald Trump Has Got To Go!

As the march moved north, so did the police. Not to stop the march, but as the Miami Herald reports, to stop traffic. Keep the marchers safe. Prevent any accidents. State troopers did the same when the march reached the MacArthur Causeway of I-395. The authorities, their hands forced by the march, shut down the highway. 

No arrests, no accidents, no ambulances. For perhaps 20 minutes not a car moved in either direction. And then, the marchers peacefully exited the highway via the northbound exit ramp. The so-called “Memphis Model” of keeping protesters safe rather than forcibly stopping them worked.

Guard and fight for your rights and the rights of others. Be heard, be engaged, be smart. Know when to push against the law, and when to work within it.

That strategy worked well in 1776. It hasn’t gotten old yet.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like!

–Essay & photos by Dan Meade
Publication date: 1/24/2017
Date of events: 1/21/2017

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