April 22nd, 2017Soggy day welcomes March for Science to Nation's Capital
by Trustworthy J. Reporter
Someone dressed as the Muppet named Beaker, waiting to get into the rally site. (click for 360 degree context). Source: Honest Tog/ENS.
Born in a Reddit discussion in January 2017, the March for Science was a group of marches and rallies held physically and virtually on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2017. Likely the best-known of these was the main rally and march held in Washington, DC. The rally was held on the ground of the Washington Monument on the National Mall, starting at 10am. The march started on Constitution Avenue, just north of the rally site at 2pm. The rally and march were co-organized by Earth Day Network.
The area in front of the main stage was filling by 9:30am and a decent crowd was already gathered by the time the rally officially began at around 10am with Jon Batiste performing a jazz-inspired piano version of the National Anthem on the main stage to a wet, yet enthusiastic crowd. Rally co-host Derek Muller, creator of the Veritasium channel on YouTube, then came out to welcome everyone to the DC march. He was followed by special guest Cara Santa Maria and fellow co-host Questlove.
As the rally program progressed with speakers such as science educator Tyler DeWitt, teens such as Girls Computing League founder Kavya Kopparapu and aspiring astronaut Taylor Richardson, and children's author Andrea Beaty, the grounds of the Washington Monument continued to fill. The rain did not appear to deter the many people who continued to arrive.
The site of the rally, the grounds of the Washington Monument, were surrounded by fencing and attendees needed to go through a simple screening tent to gain entry. There were no magnetometers or wands, but bags had to be opened and checked. The line formed down Constitution Avenue both to the East and to the West, converging at the 17th Street checkpoint. The side of the line that stretched westward passed beyond where Constitution Avenue was blocked off by large trucks for the march that would be held later in the day.
A mixture of a love for and of science, an embracing of the inner nerd, and a dislike and disfaction for President Trump were easy to spot in the signs being carried. Some common slogans seen on signs were "There is no Planet B!" (an allusion to the idea of a "Plan B") and "I'm with her" with an arrow pointing at a representation of the planet Earth. Some attendees came dressed in lab coats, regardless of whether their profession required such attire. Others dressed in costume, some as scientists such as Albert Einstein and one as the Muppet named Beaker.
A video of the full rally program has been made available on YouTube by the Earth Day Network. It runs around four hours long, the length of the rally program. Further information about the longer-term goals and vision of the organizers can be found at the March for Science website.