On January 21st, 2017, Roxy and Madeline attended the Women's March on Washington. We were invited by Zeno Mountain Farm, the organization that brought you the award winning documentary Becoming Bulletproof. There were 25 of us repping women with various abilities (e.g: wheelchair and rollerblades skilled chicks). We rolled around and held our heads high, there to make it clear that we are watching, and we will not sit/stand for his intolerance, bigotry, and neglect.
We arrived in DC Thursday evening and settled into a hostel that had listed themselves as accessible and actually IS accessible. Woah! The name of the hostel is HI-USA for anyone who is interested in finding a wheels-friendly hostel in DC. Roxy was paired up with Red Spice, a saucy ginger who rocks out with Down syndrome. Madeline was paired up with Andrew, a diva producer in NYC who chassés with Cerebral Palsy.
Andrew uses a motorized wheelchair that rolls as fast as a run and weighs as much as a pony. It is too big to fit into a car and too heavy to lift onto a train or bus. When Madeline presented her wheels to him, she and Andrew made an unspoken pact to roll all over DC together. So when the group got into ubers, we got onto the bike path. When they headed to the train, we zipped right by them and arrived at the destination first.
Often times Roxy would roll with us in which case we could create a conga line, Madeline holding onto Roxy's chair, Roxy holding onto Andrew's chair, and Andrew driving full speed ahead. Several walkers attempted to go on the move with us, but were left in our dust. We would feel bad for leaving them, but then again, the fault is no one's but their own. Should have brought a skateboard!
On the day of the march, we paired up for a buddy system and took to the streets. The march was congregating in a mile long park in downtown Washington where many of the capitol's landmarks are. The plan was to all meet at the Disability's tent on 6th street and Independence Avenue. Andrew and Madeline rolled while the rest of the group headed to the train. As it turns out, the trains weren't at all accessible and the group ended up walking. With Madeline and Andrew's need for speed, they got to the march about 45 minutes before Roxy and the rest of the group.
Madeline and Andrew entered the crowd about 6 blocks north of the disability's tent. Phones weren't working because there were too many people looking for signal in such a small space. The place was jam packed and there was no way to see more than 1 foot in front of us. But we were set on making it to Roxy and the rest of the Zeno family. We squeezed through the crowd, step by step, with Madeline in the lead saying "Globerollers coming through" as Andrew drove close behind, using every ounce of his being to drive around the people and avoid crushing toes and bruising shins. Props to Andrew.
As we pleaded and pried our way through the crowd, we were astonished to see how accommodating and supportive people were in our expedition to the disabilities tent. Often times someone would see us coming toward them and shout ahead, "hey people make room! These two rollers need to get through!" Madeline thanked one of these accessibility soldiers and she responded, "Hey, we're women. We get shit done". How right she was. Never would you expect an antsy, clusterfuck of people to be as kind and considerate as this crowd was. People smiled at us, thanked us for being there, and made room for us in impossibly close quarters. The entire experience was full of love and respect and we cannot help but assume that largely had to do with the fact that the majority of the people at that march were women and mothers who cared deeply about the future of this planet.
We made it to the tent where Madeline squatted on her blades in exhaustion and Andrew confessed, "that was the most stressful thing I have ever had to do".
After all of that crowd swimming, we found the disabilities tent empty of the Zeno fam. Apparently they weren't able to make it through the crowd. We parked Andrew outside of the tent to watch the speeches on a big screen with a dozen other wheelchair users. Madeline stood behind him, scanning the crowd for any signs of her Globeroller-in-crime.
Meanwhile, Roxy was trying desperately to make her way to Madeline and Andrew. Roxy had recruited Jerry Springer, the Zeno cook, to come with her. They were at least 10 blocks away and phones were just beginning to get spots of service. When the march started, Roxy and Mr. Springer swam against the tide as Madeline and Andrew allowed themselves to be carried downstream. Roxy and Jerry had the upper hand as people could see them coming and make way. Madeline and Andrew, however, had to go at the crowd's pace. Andrew took this opportunity to look for his future wife. As we marched and chanted, "get your tiny hands off my uterus" Andrew turned to the closest cute girl and ask with a cheeky smile, "so...where are you from?" This happened over and over again. And Andrew is still convinced that if the place wasn't so hectic, he could have found "the one".
Several hours of crowd weaving later, Madeline and Roxy finally reunited. Madeline brought popcorn and Mr. Springer begrudgingly gave us his Sunkist soda. We snacked and stumbled over each other's sentences, gushing about how in awe we both were of the level of respect and appreciation these million women had for Globerollers alike. We talked about our favorite signs, "you can't comb over sexual assault", "when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waste and a round thing in your face you RESPECT HER", "my arms are tired from holding this sign since the 1960's", "if I wanted the government in my uterus I would fuck a senator", "I've seen better cabinets at IKEA", "hands off my cuntry", "Diversity makes America great", "#FreeMelania", "the future is NASTY".
After gushing about the incredible experience both of us had had separately, we finished the march on a strong note: together. Andrew lead our final conga line with Roxy and Madeline holding on behind (and Jerry Springer eating our dust. Again, his fault).
As we rolled down a hill of protesters, we saw something gliding close by out of the corner of our eyes. It was a man sized penguin holding a sign that read "climate change is REAL", riding on a Segway. He knew what to do. Madeline reached out her free hand and the penguin grabbed ahold. Our conga line reached the ultimate level and in that moment, we realized that Globerollers had officially peaked. There's no where to go from here but downhill. So down we rolled chanting, "this is what democracy looks like!"
Back at the hostel, Andrew admitted that he never thought he'd go to a march because he isn't one to intentionally insert himself in an enormous crowd. But at the end of the day, he was proud of what we had done. He had shown up and was a part of a monumental day in our history. Madeline and Roxy had been calling him a Globeroller before he even knew there was a mad blog. And now, he had officially accepted that title. We hope Andrew comes on more Globerolling adventures. And in the next however many years it takes, we hope to not avoid the crowds, but insert ourselves right the fuck in the middle of them. United we roll.