My friend Sherill and I attended Stitches in Hartford Friday and Saturday. When I signed up last fall, of course I had no idea that there would be this significant March held on the 24th. If I'd been at home I would have gone to Providence and tabled with Moms Demand Action, but Hartford had its own March planned at the state capital, a short walk from the hotel. Even better, we learned there was a free shuttle bus from the hotel to the capital, which definitely decided for Sherill that she'd go.
Neither of us had classes that day, we were just going to shop the market then head for the March, then home. I wore my red Moms shirt in the hotel and market that morning and got so many positive comments and well wishes.
(I am not at all familiar with Hartford, and had taken an early morning walk to to scope out the route to the capital before learning about the shuttle bus. What a nice city, easily walkable, I want to come back and stay a couple of days to check out the science museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Mark Twain's house...)
When we got to Bushnell Park there was already a crowd, and people kept streaming in. I read that an estimated 11,000 people took part. The signs are always a treat to read.
Unlike the marches in Providence, where we really just congregate and rally, here we actually marched from the bottom of the hill up to the state house. It was awesome to look ahead and behind and see the huge line of people moving forward.
Sherill had to leave, and I had intended to leave earlier, but ended up staying. What an inspiring and hopeful group of speakers, mostly young people as well as CT legislators. The event was organized by Tyler Suarez, a college student and nephew of Dawn Hochsprung, the principal who was killed at Sandy Hook. He sang a song about his aunt written by him and his grandfather, Dawn's father, and the tears flowed. Dawn's daughter Erica Lafferty spoke as well, in a powerful tribute to her mother. Student speakers along with staunch gun sense legislators including U. S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty all had the crowd cheering and chanting. And there were shout outs to Moms Demand Action included! It was wonderful to see so many parents there with their children of all ages, and grandparents, and teachers, united to demand our government take action against the proliferation of guns and gun violence in America.
A couple of observations on the differences between rallying in Hartford vs. Providence: As I mentioned we marched, or at least walked up the hill, in Hartford. The population of CT is three and a half times that of RI, and the sheer size of the crowd reflected that.
And sorry, CT friends, but the RI state house's simple, elegant, classical style outshines your capital's ummm, overwrought architecture. I purposely haven't looked up anything about the CT state house yet so I wouldn't be influenced when I wrote this post, but whoever designed it must have adhered to the motto 'Let no surface remain unembellished'.
Believe it or not, I did not actually see any of the speakers in Hartford. Even as the crowd thinned and I moved my way near the front, I could not tell where the speakers were on the flat plaza in front of the building. The RI state house has the advantage of the beautiful large flight of stairs used as a stage for these events so you can see even if you're at the back of a crowd.
I was happy to witness this moment in history. The tide is turning!
Next post I'll share about Stitches.