The Downtown Los Angeles landscape has proven its ability to endure one of the largest assemblies of people that the city has ever seen. The streets, accustomed to relentless traffic, were filled to capacity with something other than the usual metal that glides over pot holes, past street vendors, business people, the homeless, and tourists. The influx of pedestrians due to the global phenomenon that was The Women’s March, an event born on Facebook that led to a flood of protesters marching through the streets from Pershing Square to City Hall, and across all seven continents.
An estimated 750,000 people (a group almost as many as the entire population of San Francisco) attended the gathering in Los Angeles alone, having the potential to truly test the limits of our city’s infrastructure and sheer capacity. And it did, but Los Angeles was built strong. This was the unseen strength that brought about a sense of connectivity between the protesters and the physical structure of our urban world. Because with almost one million people in attendance, NOT ONCE did anyone step on my shoes. That may seem like a poor joke, but it is in fact a testament to the streets of Los Angeles seeming to open its arms to the people. We marched, next to wheelchairs, strollers, those younger and those older, large groups and small – and the streets seemed to be made to hold our exact number.
As we marched, a solid group in the center, the outer edges thinned making a great lane for strollers and small children or those who needed a short rest, photographers, the police, and those who preferred to stand and make a statement. The city’s unique architecture – various stairways, balconies, and even the tops of bus benches transformed into spaces for a new purpose, but one still made to support the people. Not to say that it wasn’t tight. Yes, there were times when we were packed snugly, as we passed the Biltmore Hotel shoulder to shoulder, but our city still allowed us to move forward.
We reached the end and the people spread all around the stage near City Hall and up the long tiered urban greenspace Grand Park. The raised tiers allowed the protesters to get a true sense of the enormity of the themselves as a whole, to spread among the foliage, to splash in the fountain, and to connect as one extremely diverse group of people. And that is what Los Angeles is, a community of different colors, sexes, genders, and socio-economic statuses, who choose to live here together. Our city has proven once more that it is strong enough to support us when we need it most. The physical infrastructure, although not perfect, was made to hold and thrive in our diversity, and Saturday we tested its full potential. The progression of architectural design into a more mixed-use, inclusive environment only furthers this support and we are proud to reside in a city that is as strong, adaptable and accommodating as its citizens.
Did you march this past weekend? We would love to hear your stories!
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Need More Information, Here is a Great LA Times Article.
– Written and Photographed by Krista Masella