On Saturday, masses of women (and men) took to the streets to march in various cities around the world. Many sporting pussycat hats and signs with slogans like “love trumps hate,” gathered to make it clear they will be challenging the new administration on issues they feel strongly about, including health care, abortion, gay rights, climate change and diversity.
Over 500,000 marched in Washington, but D.C. wasn’t the only city bombarded with peaceful protesters.
“The movement spread far beyond Washington, as more than 600 “sister marches” were planned spanning as far abroad as Myanmar and Australia. In Prague, hundreds gathered in freezing weather; in Copenhagen and Sydney, thousands marched,” writes Fox News.
So many gathered in Washington and Chicago that the masses had to march in place. It appears to be a start of a progressive movement, that president Trump will have to address.
“I’ve heard a lot of people say they think, ‘Oh, this is useless. It’s just a big party and a big show.’ But I think it can create forward momentum and people will keep resisting. I don’t think it’s a big party,” said Sally Madsen, 65, a D.C. resident who marched with her sister from Minnesota to The Huffington Post. “I think we have to show that we’re still here, and we’re not going to be silent and we’re not going to be railroaded.”
Celebrities like Madonna, who had some especially unpleasant things to say about Trump, Michael Moore, Cher, Charlize Theron, Chelsea Handler, Amy Schumer, Helen Mirren, Cynthia Nixon and Whoopi Goldberg were some of the big names that made appearances at the different protests across the U.S.
“This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring of energy and true democracy like I have never seen in my very long life,” said Gloria Steinem, a women’s rights activist on Saturday. “It is wide in age, it is deep in diversity, and remember, the Constitution does not begin with ‘I the president,’ it begins with, ‘We the people.’ So don’t try to divide us!”
Although many outlets are referred to the march as an anti-trump march, organizers see this as something much more.
“The leaders of the march were quick to insist that it was not conceived only as an anti-Trump protest, even though flooding the capital with protesters on the day after the Inauguration was sure to send that message. Instead, they say, it was meant to be a public declaration of a new coalition, united to protect the rights of women, minorities and anybody else who feels they will be made vulnerable by the policies and politics of a Trump presidency,” writes Time.
So how did this all start? On social media on November 8th. Teresa Shook, with the help of some friends, went on Facebook to create an event page for the march on Washington after the inauguration. In less than 24 hours, the event had 10,000 responses.
Bob Bland, a NYC-based fashion designer had a similar idea. He posted “We will need folks from every state + city to organize their communities locally, who wants to join me?!?”
“Bland, working with others, consolidated various protest pages, including Shook’s, that had cropped up on Facebook and recruited three longtime, New York-based activists to be co-chairs of the national march: Tamika Mallory, a gun control advocate; Carmen Perez, head of the Gathering for Justice, a criminal-justice reform group; and Linda Sarsour, who recently led a successful campaign to close New York City public schools on two Muslim holidays,” writes The LA Times.
Then 9 weeks later, the march became one of the largest inauguration demonstrations in history with millions who participated across the globe.
So what’s next? How will the group continue the movement? Michael Moore was one of the many urging the crowd to run for office and to reached out to congress in opposition to the Republican agenda.
“The tea party protests after Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration started small, but they birthed a national movement that reset the Republican agenda and swept a wave of candidates into office in the 2010 midterm elections,” writes The Washington Post.
Time will only tell what the impact will be of this protest. Trump responded to the march by tweeting “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”
Editor’s note: It is difficult to say whether this will become an ongoing movement at this point. The leadership does not seem to have any national recognition and the movement does not seem to have a name (like Black Lives Matter, or Tea Party).
I’ve seen no evidence that Trump has any “anti-women” agenda. It may be that the march will not gain momentum enough to become a movement, and is merely and extension of the poor sportsmanship from election loss.