For the millions of us who woke up on January 21st feeling hungover and heartbroken from the inauguration of Donald Trump, the Women’s March was a breath of new life, hope, and rejuvenation. The march, which was organized in response to the inauguration, originated in Washington D.C. and was replicated in over 600 cities globally. Approximately 750,000 Angelenos descended on downtown Los Angeles to walk in solidarity with women across the country. With approximately 3 million people in attendance in the U.S. alone, this was the largest inaugural march in U.S. history.
Positivity, inclusivity, and peaceful resistance epitomized the protests across the country. Jasmine Uysal, RHIG Co-President and march participant, noted, “I saw little girls climbing to the top of buildings dancing for their young, female empowerment. I saw women and men of all colors and classes coming together, above and in spite of their differences, to support one another. I saw increased recognition of the intersection of racism and feminism – acknowledgement of minorities’ additional burdens and mobilization to support them. I saw hilarious and serious signs with every Trump slander, statement of pride, and message of human and female dignity. Even though the metro was packed like sardines with waits just to get on over an hour, I never saw one person get pushed, run over, voiced over, or otherwise abused.”
In Los Angeles, Natalie Portman took to the stage, with an inspiring speech of women’s continued repression in society. She declared, “I do not feel safe in my body walking alone at night” causing a massive roar in the crowd, signaling an upsurge of understanding and momentum. The message was clear: we will not be afraid anymore.
In just the first few days of his presidency, Trump has already made it clear that he, his cabinet, and his policies are in direct opposition to women’s rights, healthcare access, free speech, civil rights, environmental protection, and so many more critical issues. However, in the days since the protest, the energy working against these regressive policies has not stopped. The same message is being echoed throughout the country—complacency will no longer be tolerated.
Caitlin O’Connor, RHIG Co-President and march participant, observed, “I saw one girl who could not have been much older than me holding a sign that said, ‘I had cancer and I would be dead if it wasn’t for the Affordable Care Act.’ I really hope that lawmakers and people in Washington take note of what’s going on down here on the ground, because we are their public, we won’t stay silent, and they owe it to us to get this right.”
The Women’s March served as a much-needed surge of hope, and support in communities across the country. But it is also a sign of what is to come, an indication of the passion and perseverance of so many Americans, and the resolute commitment of millions to protect the rights of our fellow citizens.