web analytics

Signs of our time

Trending Articles

Conner Sum, 6, holds a sign in front of City Hall during the Women’s March at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco on Jan. 20, 2018. (Emma Marie Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)


Last weekend, I joined a sea of more than 60,000 San Franciscans walking down Market Street.
While everyone, like me, was at the Women’s March to protest serious issues — attacks on women’s rights, civil rights, health care and immigration, just to name a few — the shared sense of purpose and the camaraderie of everyone marching together kept everyone in a festive mood.

I saw women wearing T-shirts with images of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the “Notorious RBG.” I saw many T-shirts from last year’s Women’s March, along with every conceivable version of a pink pussy hat.

The Cat Call Choir — nine women, some in pussy hats, all in black choir robes — sang a ditty against Trump in front of a “gentleman’s club” to the tune of “Old McDonald Had A Farm.” (It included the lyrics: “With a MAGA here, and a MAGA there. Here a MAGA. There a MAGA. Everywhere a MAGA.” People marching past stopped to listen and joined in for a verse or two before moving on.

SEE RELATED: Thousands gather to march against Trump, inspire change with female leadership

And the signs … I loved the signs! As we walked along, my friends and I kept pointing them out to one another.

Some signs were outright political: “Grab ’Em By the Midterms!” “A Woman’s Place is in the House … and Senate.” “Let’s Run so our mascara doesn’t.”

The Cat Call Choir sings during the Women’s March on Jan. 20. (Sally Stephens/Special to S.F. Examiner)

One mocked President Donald Trump’s braggadocio: “I know signs. I make the best signs. They’re great. Everybody says so.”

Another poster said: “We are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn!”
And then there was the sadly honest: “Too many angry words for one sign.”

Some required knowledge of pop culture: “Make dystopia fictional again.” And one of my favorites, with the ultimate insult: “Trump likes Nickleback.”

From left, Lia Tsur, Ash Prodromou, Izzi Bousteld and Leila Shahidi show their signs in front of City Hall during the Women’s March on Jan. 20. (Emma Marie Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)

In front of me, I saw a cape that warmed my studied-Latin-for-six-years-and-loved-it heart: “Veni Vidi Votey — Hear Our Vote.”

One woman carried a poster reading: “So bad even the introverts are here.” Another’s said: “Girls just wanna have fun-damental rights.”

At the side of the street, a man held a sign that said: “Karma is a bitch and she votes.”

A woman had “Nasty Grandma” on a placard hanging around her neck while she pushed a stroller with “Nasty Girl” on it.

Genevieve Martin waves a hand-made sign as she walks down Market Street during the Women’s March on Jan. 20. (Emma Marie Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Another sign said: “Super Callous Fragile Racist Sexist Braggadocious” beside a caricature of Trump.

Other posters included: “Women’s Rights Aren’t Up for Grabs.” “We Shall Overcomb.” “We are not going away.” And the achingly simple: “Our Country Is Better Than This.”

Those are just some of the signs I saw as I marched. Undoubtedly, there were thousands more equally creative ones behind me or in front of me that I never saw.

Some of the signs at the Jan. 20 Women’s March mocked the president; others were powerful statements. (Sally Stephens/Special to S.F. Examiner)

There were Women’s Marches in more than 600 American cities last week. Some estimates say 4 million people may have participated, making the Women’s March one of the largest days of demonstrations in American history.

People and news agencies have posted pictures of the signs from many of these marches: “Tweet others the way you want to be tweeted.” “Resistance is fertile.” “What Oprah said.” A photo of Trump with the words: “Does this ass make my country look small?”

There was the inspirational: “We rise by lifting others.” And the biting: “Childbirth is less painful than this presidency.”

A young woman, dressed as Supergirl, with a sign that said: “Voting is my superpower.” A senior woman holding: “Ninety, Nasty, and Not Giving Up.” A man with: “As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.”

Then, there was the depressingly true: “Ugh. Where do I even start?”

A group of women show their signs at the Women’s March on Jan. 20, 2018. (Emma Marie Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The Women’s March this year was all about demanding deeper social and political change, a response to both the Trump Administration’s actions and the #MeToo movement. I saw one poster over and over again that simply said: “Vote!”

The march also encouraged women to run for political office. I saw many posters with variations on the theme: “Run Baby Run!”

The creativity and spirit shown in the signs at the Women’s March, along with the millions who joined in, gives me with hope that maybe we can make the difficult social and political changes that we as a country need to make.

Sally Stephens is an animal, park and neighborhood activist who lives in the West of Twin Peaks area.

Click here or scroll down to comment