Photos: Bushwick Icon Rosie Perez and Lots of Other Locals Represented at the NYC Women’s March

Legendary actress and activist Rosie Perez was the heart and soul of a rally at the start of the Women’s March in New York City on Saturday, energizing the impassioned crowd and tying together the speeches presented by organizers, politicians and A-listers.

Rosie Perez speaks at the New York City Women’s March. Emilie Ruscoe for Bushwick Daily.

“This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!” Perez told the crowd in her opening remarks. Perez, who was born in Bushwick, has long been an antiauthoritarian icon. She skyrocketed to prominence in 1989 after her extraordinary debut in Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.”

In a Google search for her striking performance in the film’s opening credits dancing to Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” the first hit will be to a YouTube video of the scene entitled “The Greatest Opening Credits in Movie History” (revisit the iconic clip above).

Marchers on 47th Street prepare to take 2nd Avenue. Emilie Ruscoe for Bushwick Daily.

Perez has been an outspoken supporter of the march; she is also a vocal advocate for Puerto Ricans, a champion of the fight against HIV/AIDS and the artistic board chair of education nonprofit Urban Arts Partnership.

The Women’s March packed 2nd Avenue. Emilie Ruscoe for Bushwick Daily,

Among the speakers Perez introduced were Katherine Siemionko, who organized the Women’s March in New York City; Taylor Schilling, who plays Piper Chapman on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black;” Heritage of Pride’s Michele Irimia; New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon, who brought Dame Helen Mirren onstage after her (Mirren, in practical walking attire, delighted the assembled crowd by by declaring that “today, I am a New Yorker!”); New York City’s comptroller Scott Stringer and public advocate Tish James and New York state senators Liz Krueger and Andrea Stewart Cousins; actress Whoopi Goldberg; and first lady of New York City Chirlane McCray (artist Yoko Ono, who was also in attendance, got a shout out from the stage, as well).

The Women’s March heads west along 42nd Street. Emilie Ruscoe for Bushwick Daily.

After the emphatic remarks of the many speakers, fired up marchers poured from the site of the rally on 47th street onto 2nd avenue. Marchers looking north could see crowds packing the streets all the way to the vanishing point.

The Mayor’s office estimates that nearly 400,000 demonstrators participated in the Women’s March in New York City. Among the marchers, Perez may have been the most prominent person with ties to Bushwick, but she certainly wasn’t the only one.

Sky, an eight-year-old girl scout from Tarrytown, New York, proudly poses with her sign, the widely distributed Shepard Fairey illustration of a portrait by Bushwick Photographer Delphine Diallo. The caption reads “We the people protect each other.” Emilie Ruscoe for Bushwick Daily.

All photos by Emilie Ruscoe for Bushwick Daily.

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