I was planning to take a photo of a nice, empty cobble stone street down in the Soho area for this week’s photo challenge: silence. The idea was to do some sort of photographic illustration of the Simon and Garfunkel song “The Sound of Silence” (speaking of, I recently heard Disturbed’s cover of the song—it’s beautiful). But I just wasn’t feeling it. I even had the song (both versions) streaming on my phone to inspire me.
I’d gone downtown after walking for a while with the Women’s March and I guess that changed how I listened to the song.
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
Silence can be wonderful, peaceful, beautiful. But it can also be insidious. It can fool us into thinking nothing is wrong. So there will be no silence here. Only people breaking the silence.
One of the criticisms leveled at the Women’s March and other protests last year was that they would not keep their momentum. A protest is a great show, but change takes sustained, hard, often unrewarding work (take it from someone who has worked in Democratic campaigns.) But a year later, we are marching again.
And, at least at the NYC March, we are a diverse group.
People of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, colors, ethnicities, and physical abilities turned up and spoke out.
I even spotted some 4-legged marchers—it’s nice to know that the pussy talk hasn’t alienated the canine constituent!
Not to mention the ‘participation’ of the NYPD. I know much of the flak that police departments get is deserved. But much of it isn’t. And during the March the NYPD was amazing—and more diverse than I’m used to seeing.
That gives me hope for 2018 and 2020. But also for society generally. If the #metoo movement has taught us anything it is that the representatives in government who think women are just decorative incubators are representative of a terrifyingly large portion of the country. It has also taught us that if we can speak out, we should—because silence only masks the problem.
So maybe #metoo and the Women’s March aren’t the best ways to effect lasting change, but they help break the silence.