Lemme get this out of the way up top: The Millions March was fuckin’ FUN. I’m still paying for it two days later but, wow, do those anti-police-violence folks know how to throw a protest. Here’s a recap for those of you TOO SELF INVOLVED to have gotten there yourselves.
I’ll admit, I was running a little late on Saturday. NOT MY FAULT THOUGH. The march had been in my GoogleCal since I heard about it but I also had to wait for my cable guy first and he was “running late cause his car broke down” or whatever. I forget the exact reason but it turned into this whole “thing” that I don’t even wanna get into or I’ll get mad all over again. So anyways, I showed up to Washington Square Park two hours late and the protest was well underway. Luckily, I caught the tail end of some marchers making their way up Sixth Avenue. And I immediately realized I was NOT properly attired.
When I left my apartment, I bundled up best I could — coat, hat, gloves, a painted sign highlighting currently sanctioned atrocities — but apparently this was wrong and I was supposed to wear Christmas-y stuff. Maybe it’s supposed to invoke “the winter of our discontent”? (Also instead of a sign I was supposed to bring a flask?) Anyways, the symbolism was a little lost on me but I didn’t want to look ignorant so I didn’t ask. Clearly these guys knew better than I did so I just pretended I forgot.
I approached the group. (ALL white, btw, which is both impressive but also a little sad.) “Fellow activists! Left my Santa gear at home. Mind if I join you anyways?” And here’s the thing: They didn’t mind at all! That’s the beauty of a unified protest — it brings people together. “Hell yeah! Come get fucked up with us!” they screamed. (Now, I admit I was nervous about the “fucked up” part cause I only planned on PEACEFULLY protesting but I went along with it anyways.) I joined my new friends and we started making our way to midtown.
Here’s what I wasn’t ready for: The Millions March is all about taking breaks. They don’t want ANYONE overexerting themselves and they DEFINITELY don’t want anyone getting dehydrated. We’d march like one block and then take a 30-minute rest in a pub. With every bar we entered, we’d take a body shot. I think cause of all the “body shots” that have been handed out to minorities by the police recently?? I don’t know — that part felt a little crass to me and also a little ineffective since there weren’t any cops watching us in the first place. (Where were the cops during this protest btw??) But I still did them cause everyone else was. UNITED WE STAND.
I also wanna take a minute and talk about the demographic of the protestors. It was almost, without exception, 20-something white kids. And the kind of 20-something white kids that I used to think, “Never in a million years would I hang out with these losers.” WELL SHAME ON ME! Shame on me for judging the ONLY people that came out for this protest. Young girls with no pants on and very low cut shirts braving the frigid air, all for the greater good. These were the folks that, until Saturday, I naively considered “New York City’s worst.” LESSON LEARNED! These were not the self-involved morons I suspected. In fact, one girl was so upset by the recent events that she PUKED. She just threw up all over the bar. And she didn’t even go home! She just yelled “Boot and rally!” So yeah — I’d say these kids care.
After about two hours, I was feeling woozy. Not from all the marching — truth be told, we’d actually only gone about six blocks at this point. Believe it or not, I was woozy from all the BOOZE we were drinking! I tried switching to water but my friends told me that wasn’t allowed. “Right! We’re on a water strike till we get JUSTICE!” I yelled. Besides, every bar we stopped at had what I assume to be some sort of “Millions March Special” where you got like 2-for-1 kamikaze shots. I can’t say for sure this is what the victims would have wanted but it was still a nice gesture? Anyways, everyone was really coming together as a community and it was SO POWERFUL. Two girls were so moved by the solidarity, they started making out right in front of me!
The chants — I’ll admit I didn’t understand the chants. I tried to start a “Eric Garner, Michael Brown / Shut it Down, shut it down!” but it quickly morphed it into “JACKIE MILLER IS A BASIC BITCH (CLAP! CLAP! CLAPCLAPCLAP!).” The name didn’t ring a bell (maybe a cop??) but surely it meant something. This was one of the most important and necessary protests of our lives so it’s not like kids would be so shameful as to waltz the streets getting day drunk during it for no reason, right? Cause that would be absolutely astonishing in its callousness. On a normal day, dressing like Santa and parading down the street would be embarrassing but during the Millions March it would be downright ghoulish. So I joined in on the “Jackie Miller is basic bitch” and also the one about her fucking dogs.
So by now it’s 5:00 p.m. and I’m shitfaced. But so are the other protestors! “We’re as drunk on Cuervo as you are on POWER!” I yelled to the police. (It didn’t catch on, though. They started chanting something about the Entourage movie instead.) And while, for the most part, this was a PEACEFUL protest, I finally saw it get a little violent when two Santas starting beating the shit out of each other. But the other Santas didn’t intervene, they just cheered them on! I’m guessing it’s cause one of them was on the Staten Island jury? Anyways, I realized the march was coming to an end when my friends decided to call an Uber and just drive the rest of the way.
I woke up the next morning with a splitting headache in some protestor’s bed in midtown. I don’t know who she was but I offered to call her sometime. She told me I didn’t have to. (I assume it’s cause she knew she’d see me again and the next protest.) Right now there’s another march scheduled for Sunday but, to be honest, I don’t know if my liver can take it. Then again, maybe that’s the point.