|Women marched in protest.|
On the first anniversary of the hugely successful Women's March that took place the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, women (and also men) once again marched in protest. The first year of the Trump presidency has been even worse than most of use imagined. Once again women (and also men) took to the streets in many cities in the United States and around the world in huge numbers.
I wrote the following brief essay last year. I am republishing it now because the need for protest is greater than ever.
Please remember the most important march will take place in November when we march to the polls and reclaim the majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Worldwide Woman’s March on January 21, 2017—Why I Marched
On Saturday January 22, 2017, the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, millions of people all over the world participated in the Women’s March. In the United States, the main demonstration was in Washington D.C. It attracted over one million people.
(In contrast, the Trump inauguration held the day before had only 650,000 in attendance. This also compares unfavorably with the 1.8 million people who attended Obama’s inauguration in 2009.)
The women (and many men too) marched to support a variety of issues that affect women and to support equality for all people. The primary focus was on issues of sexism, racism, xenophobia, gender equality, and other forms of oppression. There was also some protesting the new president.
Many women wore pink knitted “kitten hats,” as a sign of protest against the notorious remark that was caught on tape about how the president liked to grab women by their private parts.
In Orlando Florida, it was a sunny 80 degrees-- too hot for pink knitted caps. We wore sun-hats.
Over 3,000 people congregated at the band shell in Lake Eola Park. The rally began with speeches given by women—some were elected officials, some were leaders of various organizations, and some were just ordinary people with a story to tell. The speakers urged us to take action, including running for elected office.
We were entertained by two amazing acapella choral groups and a dynamite poet who forcefully portrayed the plight of women who are told “girls don’t do these things.”
After the speeches concluded, we marched around Lake Eola—a march that was a little under a mile. There were so many people marching that when the first marchers completed the circuit around the lake, there were still others in the band shell area waiting to begin.
Gricel Fernandez, co-organizer of the Orlando march, said why she and her co-organizer Autumn Garick did it. “"We want people who come to realize democracy is something you take part in every single day. It's not just every four years. If an issue matters to you, it should matter to you every day.... Even though you may just be one person, one voice, it doesn't matter. I am one person and I made one phone call, and now all these people are here."
Why did I do it? I didn’t do it because I thought that my participation was going to be the thing that made a difference. I did it because I needed to do it. I did it for myself.
There was a sign carried by one of the women that read: “I will not go quietly back to the 1950s.” Maybe that is why I did it.
© Catherine Giordano 2017