Fump Truck: The Women's March in Oakland Felt Like A New Beginning 

We fought back with humor, even silliness, at the march.

Marchers get ready on Saturday morning in Oakland.

Andria Lo

Marchers get ready on Saturday morning in Oakland.

On the way to Saturday's march, as we struggled to stay upright on the packed BART train, a stranger wrapped me in her arms. "This is how we're going to get through the next four years," she said. "With our arms around each other."

We fought back with humor, even silliness, at the march. With signs: "Fump truck!" and, "There will be hell toupee." And, of course, with masses of pink knit "pussy caps," worn by women and men alike.

People innovated with the hats. A Berkeley barber used clippings from her salon to create a line of caps with tufted ears. One man turned his sideways, so that it looked vaguely military.

Being playful is the opposite of being oppressed. It's an expression of liberation, a license to think for yourself. It shows that, even in the face of this dire election result, we remain irrepressible.

The sun also came out to bless us with a bit of dry weather during our march. (Although, in reality, it was more of a shamble.) The plan was to take BART to the Lake Merritt station, meet at Madison Park, and then march to Oakland City Hall for the rally. We would parade up Oak Street, along Lake Merritt, turn up Grand Avenue, and then march back down Broadway to end at 14th Street.

But ... the BART system couldn't handle our numbers. Trains were long in coming, and so full when they arrived that some people couldn't get on board. Our train was so overloaded that we exited at 12th Street. We assumed we could walk to Madison Park, and then take the parade route. Instead, we joined a dense, barely moving mass. Together, we oozed through downtown to Frank Ogawa Plaza.

The experience reminded me of eight years ago, when we took our kids to Washington, D.C., for Obama's first inauguration. The cold was shocking. The temperature was in the teens, and it never warmed up. Women wore full-length fur coats, something we Californians had never seen before. Street vendors sold hand warmers to put inside your gloves, and we stocked up on them.

Even in that bitter cold, the crowds overwhelmed the city. The Mall was so full that many people who had tickets ended up being shunted onto side streets and never made it.

We squeezed in behind the Washington Monument, a mile away from the stage, watched the proceedings on the closest Jumbotron, and counted ourselves lucky.

Saturday's Women's March had a similar feel. The crowds overwhelmed the planners. BART seemed to break down under the load. We overflowed the plaza in front of city hall, and the PA system was unequal to its task. We never heard the speeches.

But it felt like a new beginning.



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Readers also liked…

Latest in News

  • Oakland Organic Gardener Wins Battle Against Roundup

    Diane Williams fought for two years to stop Oakland Unified from spraying the likely carcinogenic herbicide. And, finally, she was vindicated.
    • Oct 10, 2018
  • Two PACs Take Aim at Desley Brooks

    Building trades unions and some supporters of Mayor Libby Schaaf and ex-Mayor Jean Quan are hoping to oust Brooks, but the councilmember’s backers say the PACs are misrepresenting her record.
    • Oct 9, 2018
  • Targeting Muslims?

    Critics say the Alameda County Sheriff's Office is using a Trump administration anti-terrorism grant to focus on Black, Muslim inmates returning to society.
    • Oct 3, 2018
  • More »

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

  • The Express' November 2018 Endorsement Guide

    We endorse Schaaf, Ezzy Ashcraft, and Butt; along with Fortunato Bas, Thao, Middleton, and Whitaker for Oakland council and Knox White and Oddie for Alameda council.
  • A Guide to Oakland's Ballot Measures

    Six measures on the November ballot include new taxes, tax breaks, changes to existing taxes, worker and tenant protections, and education funding.
  • Role Reversals in the Oakland Mayor's Race

    In the Oakland mayor's race, the normally staid Libby Schaaf has come out swinging, while one of her top challengers, the usually brash Cat Brooks, is acting more like a Fortune 500 CEO.
  • Richmond at a Crossroads

    The city is on the verge of an economic boom: Will Mayor Tom Butt, a longtime city official, lead it to prosperity, or will the Richmond Progressive Alliance take full control of City Hall?
  • A Guide to Berkeley's Ballot Measures

    Voters could expand rent control and approve millions of dollars for affordable housing and homeless services.

Special Reports

Fall Arts 2018

Our Picks for the Best Events of the Fall Arts Season

The Queer & Trans Issue 2018

Stories about creating safe spaces in the Queer and Trans community.

© 2018 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation