The Cohen family with the sign they took to Washington DC for the National Action to Realize the Dream march August 24th 2013Photo: AFSC / Scilla Wahrhafitig
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix
This was the message the Cohen family—grandmother MaChere; two daughters, Claire and Henrietta; and four grandchildren, Myiya, Wesley, Norma, and Winston—took on a sign to Washington.
They had to board the bus at 5 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, with nearly 500 others from Pittsburgh to go to D.C. The trip involved nearly six hours on the bus, transferring to the subway, and then a long walk from the subway to the march with MaChere in a wheelchair, but all of them felt it was worth it.
The family talked about the impact the trip had on them.
Myiya emphasized how important it was to her to be part of history. Winston also spoke about the impact of the anniversary of the March on Washington in increasing the interest in civil rights and black history. He reflected on how our lives have been changed.
The size of the crowd and the diversity impressed everyone. Norma spoke of how powerful it was to see how many came from different races and the importance people felt in just being there on this historic occasion. MaChere felt the march was more diverse than the last one. She commented that, “Poverty is not confined to one race.” Claire was surprised but pleased by how many unions were represented. This was especially important with the economy where it is and the influence of corporations.
While it was uplifting to be there and to be part of such a historic event, especially with so many coming from Pittsburgh, there was concern about what happens afterward.
Claire commented, “I hope it doesn’t get sanitized as the last march has become.” She went on to say, “We need our teachers to talk to the kids about civil rights.” People are struggling to get things changed. Claire hopes the march will help.
Many in the crowd stopped to talk with the Cohens during the march, impressed not only with the three generations, but with MaChere’s courage in coming in a wheelchair, and responding to the homemade signs the family carried.
After a long, very hot day in the sun, the family boarded the bus at 7 p.m. to return to Pittsburgh, ending their day after midnight.