On Saturday, January 21st, I took to the streets with half a million protesters in a peaceful fight for equal rights for all people. Not only did the Women’s March on Washington and the other protests all over the world represent solidarity and shed light on the dark cloud that is Trump’s inauguration, but it also proved that we are stronger together. It was chilling to say the least. So when I turned the corner onto Independence Street and saw thousands of women wearing pink pussy hats and a specific sign that read “You’ve messed with the wrong gender,” did I cry? Yes. Most definitely. Were there other specific aspects of this pro-love, pro-women march that made me cry too? Also yes. Here are those moments:
1. The Size: How the Women’s March Outnumbered the Inauguration
People from all over the world came together to march in solidarity for the rights of all people and that might be the most impactful realization: if the Women’s March does not foreshadow incredible unity and perseverance I don’t know what does?
2. The Diversity
The range of issues encapsulated in the protest were diverse: Black Lives Matter, dismantling gender and racial inequality in the criminal justice system, reproductive/immigrant/LGBTQ rights, freedom from sexual violence, environmental concerns, and labor protections for all workers. Not only were all marginalized groups able to come together to support the ranging agenda, but people from all different backgrounds also offered support for a common goal of equality.
3. Sofie Cruz
When six-year-old daughter of two illegal immigrants Sofie Cruz preached “Let us fight with love, faith, and courage so that our families will not be destroyed,” my heart melted. The young intelligent activist continued, “I also want to tell the children not to be because we are not alone. There are still many people that have their hearts filled with love. Let’s keep together and fight for the rights. God is with us.” Delivering the speech in both English and Spanish, Sofie ended with the chant: “Si se puede! Si se puede!” I still can’t decide if it’s sad or hopeful for our future that I’d trust a six-year-old girl in the office more so than our current situation. Regardless, you go Sofie! Preach girl!
4. The Signs
And the general celebration of women! Never in my life have I seen more wonderfully drawn uteruses or “Nasty Woman” references. Hell yes!
5. The Voices of the March
Artists, singers, actors, writers, and activists made appearances and empowering speeches at the march. Yes, Gloria Steinem, America Ferrera, Ashley Judd, Scarlett Johansson, Cecile Richards among others were outstanding. But no one tops my hero Alicia Keys’s surprise appearance, singing “Girl On Fire.” Talk about an influential woman!
Nothing was as fantastic as seeing a group of elderly women holding signs that read “now you’ve pissed off grandma!” and “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit,” while collectively chanting “you’re orange, you’re gross, you lost the popular vote!” Other favorite chants include: “I don’t want your tiny hands anywhere near my underpants!” “Build a fence around Mike Pence!” “Tell me what Democracy looks like? This is what Democracy looks like!” “My body, my choice.” And of course the underlying theme and something everyone can/should get behind, “Love Trumps Hate!”
7. Pink. Pussy. Proud.
Overlooking a sea of pink pussy heads. Representing a color largely associated to femininity and girlhood in a positive way. Identifying with other marchers by the hats. Taking ownership of Trump’s own derogatory pussy reference and adding our own feminized flare. Everything I’ve ever wanted.
8. The Support for Planned Parenthood
After Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards warned the crowd that Congress will likely restrict women’s health-care access, she confidently pledged, “our doors stay open.” Paraphrasing Clinton’s speech in 1995, she ended with “Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights.”
9. So. Much. Love.
And so much peace, too! Zero violence. None. You mean a group of people can come together and express only kindness, support, and empathy towards one another? What a thought, Mr. President!
10. It Doesn’t Stop Here
The march may have only lasted for a day, but the inspiration that fueled its success isn’t going anywhere. The march’s official website congratulates those who took part in the historic event, delivering an important message:
“But it doesn’t end here – now is not the time to hang up our marching shoes – it’s time to get our friends, family, and community together and make history. That’s why we’re launching a new campaign.”
The day following the march, organizers launched a campaign called 10 Actions for the First 100 Days, encouraging marchers to continue their efforts. Step One, as outlined by the website, is penning a letter to your senator about the issues you care most about.
Judging by the first day of Trump’s presidency, we should be hopeful in our strength and ability to come together and push for our equal rights as equal human beings. As the millions of people chanted worldwide, “WE ARE HERE TO STAY. WELCOME TO YOUR FIRST DAY.”
Sources: Caroline Cohen, twitter.com, bustle.com, eonline.com