By Shaley Howard
With an endless sea of pink pussy hats, nasty woman t-shirts and outrageously funny, poignant and angry signs, the message to Trump and his administration was clear; the majority of Americans do not support him and will not stand idly by and accept his agenda of hate, misogyny, oppression and division. The women’s march in Washington DC gathered an estimated 500,000 to 750,000 people. That number combined with other cities across the nation brought the estimated number of protesters to around 2.9 million – making it the largest march in US history. And these figures don’t include the thousands upon thousands of people marching around the world.
When I first heard about the Women’s March in Washington DC, I knew I had to attend. As a lesbian who’s been out for over 20 years, I’ve seen and experienced a lot of institutionalized homophobia. I know firsthand how hard we’ve had to fight the roller coaster battles just to obtain basic equality and rights. It’s because of these experiences that I also know how dangerous it is to sit back and take our basic rights as human beings and freedoms as citizens of the United States for granted. Especially with someone like Trump in charge. To see so many people from all walks of life coming out to protest and make their voices heard was unforgettable and thrilling. It gave me a sense of hope I very much needed in a time of despair. Here are some of the other protesters and their reasons for marching.
Dione – Washington, D.C.
I am 74 years old and for the first time as an American I’m afraid. I’m afraid because there’s somebody in power that doesn’t represent me. I want to make that understood. People like me living here all my life should not get to this point and be afraid. It is difficult to say what the outcome will be because I don’t think anything reaches this man. And I think he is capable of dismissing all of these women but maybe the people around him can help him understand the gravity of the situation.
Cole – Columbia, Missouri
I’ve traveled here to Washington to stand up for women’s rights. I believe that women’s rights are human rights. I am very thankful for all the women in my life that have made me proud to be who I am. I’m here to stand and march with them.
Evie – Arlington, Virginia
I want to join everyone in fighting for equality. I’m holding a sign that says trans women lives matter because even though the transgender community is being more visible, trans women are not represented in a right way. Trans women are women and their voices matter.
Margaret – Santa Cruz, California
I’m here because as gay American I have been taught my entire life to fight bullies, and I cannot stay quiet when the biggest bully I have ever know in over 60 years on this planet is now going to become the president so I must speak out for those of us who have resisted the bullies and I will continue to resist. Everyone has a reason to fight for justice and for all the people that couldn’t make it.
Lauren – Washington, D.C.
I’m marching because my ancestors marched so that I could be here. I’m marching because I’m a woman and we need to be as one. Unified. I do not stand for Trump. He mistreats women and is a womanizer. I’m telling him – nope, not me.
Camille – NYC originally from Puerto Rico
My sign says “un pueblo sin prensa es un pueblo esclavo” which is a quote from a Puerto Rican journalist. I’m a journalist myself. The quote means “society without press enslaves society”. I’m here wanting to defend our first amendment and right to free speech. I’m very concerned with Donald Trump’s dismissal and treatment of the media. I’m concerned there will be more censorship and less access. So I’m here marching for that but also for women’s rights in general.
Chris – North Carolina
There are many women in my life that are extremely important to me. Women that have gone through a lot of the last few years and are fearful for the next four. I’m here to stand up for and with them. Not much gets accomplished when you sit around and become bitter. So I decided to get up, move forward, be productive and march.
Shirley – West Virginia
I’m here for equality. It’s not just women’s rights it’s human rights. I believe in equality for everyone. I believe in LGBT and gender rights. There are people out here for multiple reasons but for me it’s about unity as a whole and equality. They say women cannot be in an environment without being caddy but clearly that’s untrue because look at all of these women coming together. I also appreciate seeing so many men and children out here. The children are our future so this is a good example for them to see people standing together for rights and coming together for a common cause. And that’s human rights. It’s about inclusion not exclusion.
Kris – Seattle, Washington
I am in deep mourning over the election of Donald trump. I can hardly believe that we have to use the word president in the same sentence as trump. I think that many of the civil rights that we’ve taken for granted for decades are now on the cutting board. Roe vs. Wade is in danger. The environment is in danger. The civil rights of minorities of all kinds –LGBT rights, women’s rights – all of them are up for grabs at this point. Trump has essentially declared war on the majority of people in this country who did not vote for him. He did not win the popular vote; he lost by 3 million votes. I feel a need to register my voice in opposition to everything he stands for and to let him and his cabinet know that they do not represent the majority of people in this country. The majority of people believe in constitutional rights, they believe in the progress we’ve made towards equality in the law, towards a nation that actually lives up to the principles that are articulated in our constitution. And I believe it’s my civic duty to stand up and speak out for people who either are afraid to speak out or are financially unable to travel to some place like DC to march and protest. To stand up for the people who are afraid of deportation now. The people who are afraid of physical violence because of the religion or their nationality or their sexual orientation. It seems to me that this is a critical juncture in our country and if we don’t stand up and offer resistance then we are just as culpable as the people who are propagating this hate and intolerance.
Suzie – Arlington, Virginia
Our president elect does not get a free pass. Everyone is saying ‘oh we need to give him a chance’ – NO we don’t. On the campaign trail he was so divisive. He needs to know we’re angry. I’m angry. I’m scared. I’m actually terrified of him. So he doesn’t get a free pass. That’s why I’m marching. I hope his little thin skin realizes there’s a whole lot of this country that is unhappy with him from day one and what he stands for. To me he’s the ugly American.
For more information about what actions you can take to continue the resistance go to www.womensmarch.com/100.
Photo credits for all photos go to Gia Goodrich at VEV Studios.