On November 8, 2016 the world turned its eyes on America, many were shocked, confused and outraged. That anger, fear and frustration spilled out onto social media and into local protests. As the months passed and the New Year dawned, many across America have felt the presence of Trump’s Presidency like a looming storm, building in power and darkening, ready to lash out at America’s most vulnerable minority groups.
On Saturday 21st January, a day after Trump’s Inauguration, those attacked by Trump and those associated with him gathered for the first Woman’s March on Washington 2017. The March was organised in reaction against Trump’s successful bid for Presidency and to protect issues threatened by Trump in America: women’s rights, immigration reform, LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, freedom of religion and environmental protection.
The result was far greater than anyone had conceived. Washington was inundated with peaceful protesters wearing pink ‘Pussyhat’ pussy cat hats and waving signs proclaiming equal rights and intersectional, inclusive feminism. In fact, it became one of the largest events to ever take place in the American capital city.
‘Sister Marches’ took place across the world (on every continent – even in Antarctica!) in partnership with American protestors, highlighting how these issues have an impact globally. Love, support, peace and solidarity united each of the Marches, giving America and the world a much needed glimmer of hope for the future.
Here we sum up some of the most inspiring moments from the key event, the Women’s March on Washington, in celebration of its impact. Here’s to hoping that it continues to inspire America and the world to challenge hate.
The Sheer Size of the March
The numbers that gathered in Washington on Saturday shocked all. According to WomensMarch.com, it is believed to have attracted at least half a million in Washington; an estimated more than three times as many people attended the March as attended the Trump inauguration itself. The result was a crowd that was too big to march along the planned route. Add in the estimated numbers for worldwide participation (4.8 million people!) and you can get an idea of the sheer size of this event and sister-events. It will be a day talked about for decades to come.
Truly Inspiring Speeches and Performances
Among the protesters were many celebrated key speakers and performers, ranging from celebrities to activists. Each one was truly inspiring and worth watching. Moments that tugged on heartstrings, caused tears and shivers include America Ferrera’s ‘We Are America’ speech, Gloria Steinman’s ‘No More Asking Daddy’ speech, Cecile Richards (president of Planned Parenthood) who defended women’s reproductive rights, Janelle Monáe’s ‘It Was Woman’ speech, and the recital of two truly powerful poems: Alicia Keys reciting Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise and Ashley Judd reciting Nasty Woman by 19-year-old Nina Donovan.
Indigenous Rights Highlighted
The Next Generation Fights the Good Fight
Other tiny heroes continue to appear on social media; children of protesters proudly holding their own signs and making their political mark.
A New Women’s Rights Anthem: #ICantKeepQuiet
I Can’t Keep Quiet, written by LA singer MILCK, has become the unofficial anthem of the Women’s March and of defiance against Trump. Described by MILCK as a “song of empowerment”, her website declares the #ICANTKEEPQUIET project as being “dedicated to celebrating our unique voices and identities, in an effort to break the cycles of oppression perpetuated by today’s media.” The performance took place after MILCK contacted singers from across LA and Washington who practised via Skype before performing guerrilla-style in Washington. Watch and wait for the chills.
While the Women’s Marches took place only on one day they will foster a generation of activists, an era of solidarity and a legacy of fighting for our rights, instead of staying quiet.
Words by Esther Newman