No violence, no arrests at our Atlanta march

An open letter to Bonnie Willis:

I am sorry that the women’s marches across the country embarrassed you as a woman. You stated this in your Feb. 8 column titled, “The age of drama, pseudo-reality.” In that same column, you characterized presentations made at the women’s marches as vulgar, hate-filled rants.

Bonnie, I think you are confused. I think you may have confused the vulgar, hate-filled rants and embarrassing actions of President Donald Trump with the messages of human rights, world peace, and global sustainability that characterized the women’s marches.

I was there in the March for Social Justice and Women in Atlanta. There were about 60,000 of us there. Despite the crowd size, there was no violence, no arrests, no property damage, and no vulgarity. In fact, a video of marchers hugging and high-fiving Atlanta police has gone viral.

We were 60,000 people using our right to free speech to peacefully protest the regression of rights in our country. Yes, the regression and unraveling of rights of women, immigrants, refugees, poor families, children, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.

At that march I was accompanied by five children. All of us proudly chanted, “This is what democracy looks like.” Standing up for justice and equality is the fundamental responsibility of everyone in a democracy. It is important for children to learn that this is a civic duty of every American.

The marches, Bonnie, were not born of some kind of pseudo-reality. They were born from a formidable fear that true democracy is being trampled by those in the highest elected positions in our country.

The people I marched with want our country to continue growing as a democracy that protects the rights of all people, not a dictatorship that protects the rights of certain religions, certain income levels, a certain gender identity, and certain cultures.

What do you say, Bonnie Willis, to the Muslim ban, the appointment of DeVos as Secretary of Education, the appointment of Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General, the numerous gag orders on federal agencies and employees, and the claim that protesters such as myself are being paid? Perhaps these are more to your liking than millions of everyday American citizens voluntarily exerting their fundamental right to free speech and peaceful protest.

Irene Cheyne
Progressive Community Coalition
Fayetteville, Ga.