downtown washington

‘Elder power:’ Seniors who couldn’t march hold own mini-protest
Caitlin Gibson | 21 January 2017 (x)

They stood in the center of Thomas Circle in downtown Washington: more than a dozen 70-, 80- and 90-something retirees, huddled together in a cool mist and hoisting signs as honking cars and pink hat-clad pedestrians streamed past.

“Honk if you support health care for all!” shouted 87-year-old Tina Hobson, and a passing car answered with three emphatic horn blasts. Behind her, 93-year-old Marcie Simon clutched a sign emblazoned with the words “Hope Has No Age Limit.”

Hobson and Simon were among a couple dozen residents of a nearby retirement community who bundled up Saturday morning and came out to support the Women’s March. They couldn’t make it all the way down to the official march site, but they were determined to be seen and heard. So they decided to demonstrate in shifts, gathered around a bold-printed “Elder Power” sign.

“We’d hate to go back 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, when we marched for pro-choice rights, when we marched for Civil Rights,” said Hobson, who says she has been demonstrating for political causes all her life. “Now, because of our families, we are very invested in fighting climate change.”

The elderly DC residents came out to demonstrate despite the concerns of their retirement community, Hobson said.

“The people who take care of us, they didn’t want us to come. They worried we would get hurt,” Hobson said. “But we didn’t care. It was more important to be here.”

As she spoke, a crowd of young protesters passed by and started clapping and cheering their approval.

“Everybody stops and talks to us,” said 83-year-old Harriet Fulbright, grinning and waving back. “Everyone is so nice.”

It was the first time that Simon had ever participated in a protest. But Trump is “very frightening,” she said, so she felt it was necessary that she participate.

“It’s hard to come out when you’re 93,” she said. “I almost didn’t come. But I’m glad I did.”

 HERO 

“I appeal to all of you to get into this great revolution that is sweeping the nation. Get in and stay the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this nation until true freedom comes, until the revolution of 1776 is complete.” - John Lewis speech at the 1963 March on Washington