Ever since the Republicans picked St. Paul as their convention site I knew that I wanted to join the protests. I chose to march with CodePink, an anti-war movement organized by women advocating for a peaceful world.
The day arrived and as I sat on the city bus riding toward the capitol I realized just how out of place I looked. Bright pink spandex leggings, jean shorts, and a bright pink shirt--not normal attire for the Twin Cities. Nonetheless, I felt great. I was on my way to stand up for what I believe in.
CodePink organizers were already picking out banners and readying the massive figurines when I arrived. As more and more women and men trickled in we divided ourselves into various groups. There were about 100 of us in all, including a giant Heart of the Beast statue, doves that flew around the statue, a dragon, pink police, crazy pink cheerleaders, banner holders, Heart of the Beast backpack figurines, pink bicyclists, and many more. We were decked out from head to toe in pink. For those in need, CodePink had boxes full of pink paraphernalia that brought back memories of rummaging through the kindergarten costume box.
Before we left for the rally we joined together to stretch and get ourselves pumped up with a few cheers. I spent most of the pre-march rally at our meeting site working on a large banner that said, “$$ For Gulf Coast Not Gulf War.” We finished the banner just in time to join up with our comrades at the start of the parade. Code Pink was second to last in line (I like to think we were the finale) so we were able to see thousands upon thousands of marchers ahead of us streaming down the hill toward the Excel Center.
The march itself was surprisingly fun. We sang songs to familiar tunes and chanted catchy phrases. Throughout the route we saw many other groups representing everyone from students to anarchists to soldiers to pro-war protestors. The police were out in force during the parade. Their presence was immediately noticed (it’s hard to miss black clad officers in riot gear carrying thick wooden sticks). Although the show of police force was incredibly excessive and intimidating, our group had no problems with the police. We marched peacefully and respected of the pro-war activists and the police.
CodePink was a great group to march with. They were positive, welcoming, and respectful of everyone’s abilities during the march. Although more than 280 marchers were arrested during the parade, we remained peaceful and conveyed our message without breaking windows or harassing delegates.
Ed. note: This is just one person's account of the march. It is in no way representative of other people's experiences.