Hope for Facts

I have been working like a whirling dervish the past few weeks. I’ve had so many school assignments and I was also trying to get ready for the March for Science in Washington DC. I’ve thought about how to write this post several times. I’m not really, very sure what to say. It was wet. It was cold. It was surreal.

We got up at 4 am Saturday morning and were on the bus by 4:50. The Geosciences club at our school had received funding to book a charter bus, and it was only $5 for each of us to go. We were off and underway before I was even properly awake. As we neared D.C. (Our nation’s capitol for anyone abroad who might not know) I pulled my costume on over my shorts and tee shirt.

I had decided some months back that I was going to dress as Ms. Frizzle, the wild, wonderful, and wacky science teacher that takes her students on magical field trips in the book series and television show ‘The Magic Schoolbus’.  It was very popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I also was planning on carrying a sign that said ‘Science in Schools is Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead!” (STEAM is an acronym that means science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). I had spent a lot of time preparing this costume and. if you want to see how I made the costume, there will

I had spent a lot of time preparing this costume and, if you want to see how I made the costume, there will be links to the other posts as soon as they go up at the end.

Back to the March, our bus dropped us off just next to Arlington National Cemetary and we walked into D.C. and to the national mall, where the Washington Monument was, and where the rally before the march was being held. (Yes I got to hear/see Bil Nye speak!)

It rained the entire day, turning everything quite soggy and cold, and rendering the special sunscreen I bought (my face breaks out quite spectacularly with certain types) useless. The main way this affected me, however, was that my camera had to stay dry and that meant that it had to stay in its case and that meant that I couldn’t take many pictures.

These first few are the ones I did manage to take in the 5 minutes that the skies halted their precipitation.

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I understand that some of these pictures might not be to your liking, particularly politically, but this is what was around me, this was my experience as we all exited the area in front of the Washington Monument and began our march.

The march itself was slow moving at first, I believe we were being held up by a traffic light. We were all cold, we were all wet, and we were all united. Chants were taken up by marchers and cries such as these could be heard:

The call and reply of “What do we want?” “Science!” “When do we want it?” “After Peer Review!”.  The repetition of “Air pollution is not a joke! Air pollution will make you choke!” There were a few that were picked up from the speakers such as “science not silence,” and “no science, no chance!” The most chilling, however, was “Save the EPA!” as we passed the building that housed the Environmental Protection Agency. (This agency is in danger of being defunded by the current administration)

At the very end of our march, we encountered some counter-protesters just before the steps of the Capital building. They were chanting something to the tune of ‘if you believe in science, you can’t believe in abortion’, now I am stressing that I am paraphrasing here because I could not hear the counter protesters over the counter counter protestors and their chants of “My body, My choice!”

These next pictures were taken by the other members of our group during the march from the Washington Monument to the United States Capitol building.

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I did crop these pictures because I was not sure how comfortable everyone was with being thrown up on my blog. You can see how wet we all were. The picture of Jake and I at the Lincoln Memorial was at the beginning before we went to the rally. We get progressively soggier from there.

Also, my friend was dressed as Sans from the game ‘Undertale’. If you know anything about the game you will know that your choices regarding how you treat the monsters in the game change how the game is presented to you during that run, and during future runs (there are pacifist and genocide runs, to give you an idea). My talented friend, she did her face makeup, her skeleton gloves, and her sign on the bus on the way there! Her sign said ‘There’s no reset once you’re killed us all’. Very morbid, but very appropriate.

While we were at the rally beforehand, a man in a hat that said BBC and a press pass stopped and took her picture. (If you click the link the first picture in the video is her.)

This march was… I don’t have the words to accurately describe it, ignoring the wordsmith I try to be. Somewhere between amazing, adrenaline filled, wonderful, and horrific all mixed together. It was a celebration of science, yet the need for this march, this protest in support of facts, created an undercurrent of sadness, anger, and fear, despite the speaker’s best efforts to keep the messages upbeat.

This hope, this love, this spirit is what we will need to protect our wonderful little planet in the coming years. I will halt hear, to stop from becoming too political and from derailing myself, but I urge all of you to hold onto the hope I saw in everyone’s faces, despite the cold and wet. It is powerful.

(I apologize for the length of this post, and the rambly-ness, but I wanted to tell the whole story)

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