5 Minutes of Silence
My trip to Denton to document the Women's March/Rally on January 21st grew organically out of a few different situations. It had been a little while since I had the chance to get out and shoot, and I get antsy when I can't get out and shoot; and it had been even longer since I'd photographed a march, rally or protest. The events of July 7th had soured me and I had been avoiding any of these types of activities since. However, this event seemed to be surrounded by an air of positivity, and unity; and felt well organized from the posts I was reading on Facebook.
I chose one of the smaller rallies, knowing there would be a lot of photographers in Denton because of the large photography community that it has, but I also needed to be in McKinney later that afternoon and knew there was no way I'd make it in time if I went to Ft. Worth or Dallas. I should preface this to say small is a relative term. In terms of the amount of space available to rally organizers, Denton probably ranks near the top. The city required the participants to remain on the lawn of the courthouse, which is probably no more then a square mile total, and Denton reported to have an attendance upwards of 3000. Needless to say, that lawn was packed.
The group A United Denton (https://www.facebook.com/WomensRallyDenton/) did such a phenomenal job of organizing, communicating and keeping the focus on unity during the entire event. Everyone treated each other with the utmost respect that it felt more like a lawn party then a rally. However the signs the participants carried, and the chants clearly informed anyone on the outside what the true purpose for the gathering was.
At precisely 1pm the organizers requested that all those present remain silent for 5 minutes. Walking around snapping images of the an entire lawn packed with people holding up peace signs while in complete silence was the most surreal experience I had during the entire rally. I don't even recall hearing a passing car honk their horn or even a tire squeal when a light turned from red to green. I did however hear a phone ring quite a distance from me. That's how silent it was. 3000 people packed into a lawn surrounding a courthouse in the middle of a square of a college town in the middle of the day on a Saturday in the middle of the semester, and you could hear a phone ring on the other side. This one image alone should convey the feeling that the Women's March intended to convey. One of Unity. One of Peace. One of support for each other in this crazy world we live in today.
No matter your feelings on the current president, or the state of our union. Being in that square, in that moment, makes every feeling I have in the hope of the future of our country a positive one.