WASHINGTON- Among the thousands of kites flying Saturday at the Washington Monument were several hundred with a purpose other than celebrating the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. “Persist,” one read. “Rise Up,” was written on another.
Those kites, and others, were making a political statement as part of the “Love Flies High” group’s demonstration called “They go low, we fly kites,” a play on Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. In the speech, Obama said her family believes they shouldn’t stoop to being a bully if they are being bullied.
“No. Our motto is: when they go low, we go high,” the former first lady said at the time. It later became a slogan for the Women’s March the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Pamela Reisfelt Hughes was one of the 470,000 people who were at the Women’s March in Washington. She returned for Saturday’s kite flying demonstration with a triangle shaped multicolored kite with the words “Rise up” on it in bold white letters.
“It alludes to ‘Hamilton,’ and it’s my way of telling women to continue to rise above challenges,” Reisfelt Hughes said, referring to the popular musical. She already had a plane ticket from Ukiah, Calif., to Washington for Saturday’s the “Fire the Fool” protest before it became a digital-only demonstration.
Another veteran of the Women’s March, Alex Dodds, flew her kite with the word “persist” on it, accompanied by her sister and two young sons. She wore her pink hat from the Jan. 21 march.
Dodds said her kite’s message was inspired by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who was silenced while trying to read a letter from Coretta Scott King as part of her speech criticizing then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., during debate over Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said in February, defending his decision to stop Warren from reading the letter.
The word “persist” on Dodd’s kite is “kind of just saying to keep these issues at the forefront of our minds,” Dodds explained.
The Facebook page for “Love Flies High” estimates more than 1,000 people brought politically passionate kites to Saturday’s event.
“I’m 64 years old and had never participated in something as moving as the Women’s march. So I had to come back for this event,” Reisfelt Hughes said.