On Monday morning, February the 16th (President’s Day), Rachel and I departed the Amtrack train station about 6:30 a.m. A few hours later we were delivered to the front of the California State Capitol in Sacramento. The Amtrack bus ride from Stockton was unpleasant but direct.
There was an excitement in the air; the front lawn and steps were already being transformed with booths, signs, and crowds. The weather was not real cold but there was a little drizzle, enough to warrant umbrellas. We were early enough to walk the length of the park to drop off our overnight bags at the hotel. We had lunch and arrived back at the steps about 11:30 a.m.
PFLAG’s, equality groups, and other organizations were represented. A first aid, face painting, and food by Allstate Insurance were other booths.
We accepted some buttons and signs on our walk around. There were very few police among the crowd except across the street. Bicycles, horseback, and foot police were watching a small group of pro-8 demonstrators, keeping them on one corner. We overheard a comment about a red truck with loud speakers being made to go around the opposite block. We waited a bit and it came by looking a lot like an old 1930’s circus add.
We noticed many signs with eye catching art and slogans. Someone from San Jose brought several full size sheets with artistic designs and messages. I thought the one about the “chickens got rights and gays got plucked” really stood out.
The media and equipment were all over the place. This rally was well thought out and well executed. A peaceful, upbeat expression of a unified voice of concern for rights for a group of citizens.
We had no trouble hearing the speakers and all were very good. It was difficult to see some that were on the porch because of the massive pillars in the way. Deborah Gibson and Molly McKay sang. Producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Julia Louis Dryfus, March Shalman. Robin Tyler, Selena Luna and George Takei and partner Brad Altman were there. The discoverer of Aids – Dr. Michael Gottlieb was an interesting speaker. Margaret Cho did some original pieces that were of very risqué material that turned some parents heads.
We had to put up our umbrellas a couple of times around 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Everyone seemed so together and with good spirits, like a family. I would guess there were about 600 to 700 people there with more coming.
We left at about 3:30 p.m. and walked to the hotel. There were still people arriving. We were looking forward to a night at FACES for an after rally party. There were some problems with getting the hotel discount, so we just went back to the train and came back to Fresno. The rally was still going even after 4:30 p.m. We arrived home about 9:00 p.m.