“If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it.”
On Saturday, Jan. 20, 600,000 individuals gathered in downtown Los Angeles to stand together in protest. The 2018 Women’s March marks the second annual march nationwide.
The first Women’s March took place on Jan. 20, 2017 to protest the 45th presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.
Gathering at 8 a.m., hundreds of thousands of individuals of all ages, genders and ethnicities crowded Pershing Square ready to be heard once again. Holding signs with messages from Oprah quotes to Presidential shaming, these 600,000 believers were ready to be the change.
Not only were these 600,000 people ready to protest but the nation was all together. An unimaginable amount of people gathered nationwide: 130,000 in San Francisco, 300,000 in New York, 300,000 in Chicago, and hundreds of thousands more all over the United States.
The Women’s March mission is “to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists & organizers to engage in their local communities through training, outreach programs, and events.
Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity, and respect.” according to their website.
Protesters who attended stood up for causes such as immigration protection, women’s rights, racial division, and countless other issues.
“Chants from women’s choice to equal pay were shouted by peaceful activists ranging in age. It was truly an astonishing experience to witness the presence of all these individuals fighting or one cause,” 17-year-old Kayla Ho said.
From chants such as “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter” to speeches from influential media individuals such as actress Viola Davis, everyone in attendance were empowering each other. Tired of seeing the nation undo our progressive change, every person in attendance came with a point to prove.
The 2018 Women’s March was not only fueled by inequality and one year of poor presidential leadership but movements such as #TimesUp and #MeToo as well in support of sexual assault victims. Coast to coast with signs stating “I am marching today for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault who are trapped at home” in LA to Singer-Songwriter Halsey’s poem “A Story like Mine.”
Despite the empowering and uplifting atmosphere, there were anti-protesters in attendance as well. According to the LA Times, “There was a short confrontation between supporters of President Trump and some marchers near the end of the march route near Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, where a group of eight Trump supporters stood waving flags and speaking through bullhorns. Women’s March volunteers stood in a line holding hands in front of the pro-Trump crowd, separating them from the bulk of the marchers.”
Not only did the pro-Trump crowd make an appearance, but the president himself tried to altercate the obvious anti-Trump protest as well by tweeting, “Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”
Regardless of the inevitable differing views, the atmosphere continued to be filled with love arraying from inclusive chants to free hugs signs. Personally, I had never been in an atmosphere filled with so much inclusion and empowerment. Being brought to tears by an overwhelming wave of joy, the Women’s March 2018 gifted me with a sense of realization that not only are we in the midst of change but what our future looks like.
“The women’s march made me feel incredibly empowered. Seeing so many people come together for such a positive cause, spreading love and support to everyone around them made me feel proud to be a girl growing up to become an empowered woman. The women’s march was an example of how important it is to stick up for your beliefs and become united with others who feel the same way to work to change the future,” Taylor Sakata said, summing up her Women’s March experience.
History in the making, we are tired of being silenced. In Los Angeles, shouting through megaphones, marching together from Pershing Square to City Hall, the diverse city was ready to be heard. In Chicago, protesters flooded Grant Park dressed in pink hats chanting “We Lead with Love” to Federal Plaza.
Overall, the 2018 Women’s March struck once again proving we, the people, cannot be shut down, even when the government is. Standing together, the individuals who marched on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 are ready to be the game changers.