A snapshot of the peaceful protest that took place in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Jan. 21. (Emily Votaw/WOUB)

Women’s Marches Go National And Global

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Women’s March on Washington was just a part of an enormous global event that took place in cities all over the world, as well as the country.

With over 600 “sister” marches taking place all over the globe (London, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, Mexico City, and many others,) as well as all over the country (New York City, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and more; not to mention the state of Ohio – Chillicothe, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland) the march sought to bring together marginalized groups and their allies in solidarity following the politically tumultuous year of 2016.

Initially formed based off of a Facebook post written by retired Hawaiian attorney Teresa Shook following the results of the 2016 Presidential Election, the event sought to illuminate a myriad of social and political issues facing women, Black and Brown people, Muslims, survivors of sexual assault, those who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, and those with disabilities.

A sea of pink "p*ssy" hats, creatively dubbed so in reference to President Donald Trump's off-color sexual bragging circa 2005, made up decent portion of the enormous crowds gathered in D.C. Jan. 21.  (WOUB/Emily Votaw)
A sea of pink “p*ssy” hats, creatively dubbed so in reference to President Donald Trump’s off-color sexual bragging circa 2005, made up decent portion of the enormous crowds gathered in D.C. Jan. 21. (WOUB/Emily Votaw)

“I am nasty like my bloodstains on my bed sheets,” said actress Ashley Judd, one of many notable speakers who made appearances at the march. “We do not actually choose if and when we had our periods. We do not like throwing away our favorite pairs of underpants. Why are pads and tampons still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not? Is your erection really more important than protecting the parts of my womanhood? Is the bloodstain on my jeans more embarrassing than the thinning of your hair?”

Judd’s sentiments were echoed by the many celebrities, scholars, activists and politicians who made appearances at the march. Feminist legend Gloria Steinem, liberal movie maker Michael Moore, internationally regarded scholar and activist Angela Davis, pop star Madonna, musician Alicia Keys, actress America Ferrera and many others spoke or performed for the D.C. crowd, which slowly swelled throughout the day.

Steinem in particular begged the crowd to stick together — to “make sure to introduce themselves to each other,” emphasizing the importance of marginalized groups and their allies sticking together.

“We’re doing it,” Steinem said. “Pressing send does not allow us to empathize with other people.”

Representatives from Black Lives Matter, the Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the Native Organizers Alliance, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, NAACP and other groups made appearances throughout the event.

Those gathered for the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21. (WOUB/Emily Votaw)
Those gathered for the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. (WOUB/Emily Votaw)

Initially organizers planned for the march itself to commence at 1 p.m. after a morning of speakers. An hour later, the march had yet to begin — leaving portions of the well-behaved crowd noticeably restless even in the relatively mild weather. After 45 minutes of standing and replying to the announcement of each new performer or speaker with shouts of “March! March! March!” sections of the highly condensed crowd began to disperse, starting out on the march path before the official commencement of the featured event sometime after 3 p.m.

Vague discomfort for protestors aside, the event was remarkably successful, with the D.C. Metro system reporting more than 597,000 trips through the tunnels under D.C. by 4 p.m. on Jan. 21; marking a new weekend ridership record for the city. That number comes as a stark comparison to Friday, Jan. 20’s 368,000 logged rides on the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. In addition to the Metro rides, the city also distributed some 1,800 bus parking tickets for the day of the march.

“It’s been a heartrending time to be both a woman and an immigrant in this country,” said speaker America Ferrera, whose parents are Honduran immigrants, early on in the event. Ferrera, like many of the speakers, directly addressed the discomfort that the gathered marginalized groups feel towards President Trump due to the disparaging and often cruel things that he has said, implied or directly done concerning those groups. “Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. His cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America. And we are here to stay.”