In response to Trump, millions make way to Washington, D.C. for historic women’s marchAn estimated half million people gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, to protest Donald Trump’s attack on the rights of women, LGBTQIA, immigrants, workers, disabled, and the environment.
Nationwide, 3.3 million people marched in over 500 US cities.
It was a day of solidarity, building bridges, and passionate declarations of equality for all, potentially galvanizing a new generation of impassioned activists.
One question that was asked repeatedly of the activists was, “Why do you march?”
It was a question asked by friends and family, by the media and by storytellers.
One mother who traveled from Santa Rosa with her two children answered, “I went because everything within my being was pushing me to go. I was hesitant and scared. I leaned heavily on friends for guidance.”
She screwed up her courage and summoned all of her personal resources. It wasn’t easy coming to Washington with her children in tow, but friends were generous with resources and advice.
“I took a leap financially. I took a beating emotionally.” she said. “I brought my kids. They marched too. They sat in the dirt near the stage, while I listened intently to the words of those who spoke to the deep human values we were standing for that day!”
Lorraine Walker of Eatwell Farms in Dixon, California was also present.
“My voice is small,” Walker said. “The media drowns me out daily. I rant and rave, but still my voice is small.”
Walker isn’t interested in infringing on the rights of her fellow citizens. However, she feels that she isn’t being heard.
“I marched to be a drop in an ocean swelling up to drown out YOUR voice! No longer can we sit on the sidelines, no longer can we tolerate being pushed to the side. One voice is small, but a million voices are powerful. I marched because I am a drop.”
For so many marchers, women’s equality was foremost on their minds.
On average, a woman makes 79.6 cents for every dollar a man makes (National Committee on Pay Equity, based on 2015 median income). Women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields are underrepresented due in part to an unconscious bias against women in nontraditional rolls.
Women still do not have agency over their bodies. Women are still blamed for sexual assault and domestic violence.
The illegal sex trade is rampant both here and abroad. A woman’s body is a commodity.
So for those who made the trip to DC, it was by foot, metro, uber, taxi, car, long distance bus, train, and plane.
They came from all spectrums of life, religious viewpoints, and social classes.
To say the March was crowded would be a gross understatement. Through the twists and turns of the streets of D.C., protesters got caught up with everyone else walking to the March from the surrounding D.C. neighborhoods.
The crowd just kept getting thicker until there was no way to directly reach the March starting point at 3rd and Independence. Protestors coiled up side streets and expanded radially out from the stage until an estimated half million people filled up the entire March route to capacity.
Protesters listening to charged speakers protest Donald Trump’s attack on the rights of women, LGBTQIA, immigrants, workers, disabled and the environment.
It was hard not to shed a tear hearing 6-year-old Sophie Cruz speak in both English and Spanish, more articulate then many adults. Ashley Judd fired up the crowd reciting Nina Donovan’s spoken word, “Nasty Women.”
Through it all, strangers swapped stories of where they traveled from, shared food and water, helped each other with kids, elderly family members, and disabled activists.
By 3pm, when they began marching towards the Washington Monument, they felt that the town belonged to them.
The March wound its way from the steps of the U.S. Capitol building, past the Washington Monument, and almost to the door of the White House, where national policy is made.
The Marchers became a part of the great lineages of movements throughout U.S. history that marched down the Mall, with history rising up on all sides, exercising and celebrating their First Amendment rights of free speech and to peaceably assemble in protest.