By Veronica Mackey
A day after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, more than 3 million women in over 30 countries participated in the Million Women’s March—the antithesis to what they say are dangerous Trump ideologies. They came together for a day of unity to organize, be heard, and protest the new administration.
California lawmakers Sen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Maxine Waters joined women in the nation’s capital, telling them to be vigilant and unrelenting in pursuit of equality. Notable speakers included Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Madonna, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, and America Ferrera.
The march exceeded expectations of both organizers and law enforcement. An estimated 500,000 people participated in Washington DC alone. In Chicago, about 22,000 were expected. However, that number soon swelled to 150,000. About 750,000 people showed up in L.A., outnumbering even the march in Washington, D.C.
Women, men and children showed up from all age groups, political parties, income levels, races and religions. Defying Trump’s remark that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is a “nasty woman,” Ashley Judd said, "I'm not nasty, like the combo of Trump and (Mike) Pence being served up to me in my voting booth. I'm nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth."
She was cheered on by a sea of women wearing pink tee-shirts and “pussy” hats. The hats were created to underscore Trump’s disregard for women by saying it’s okay to grab their genitals.
The march was organized to protest possible defunding of Planned Parenthood, and a host of other issues being threatened under the new Trump administration: environmental protection, gay rights, immigration, income equality, abortion, healthcare, and education.
Harris said all issues are women’s issues and told them to stay in the fight: "It's going to be harder before it gets easier. I know we will rise to the challenge and I know we will keep fighting no matter what," she said. "This was a day for us all to come together in our nation's capital ... let's buckle in because it's going to be a bumpy ride."
Waters warned women to be vigilant and pay attention to Trump’s cabinet picks.
Ferrera took on the immigration issue, saying: "The president is not America. His cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America. And we are here to stay. We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance."
Film maker and liberal activist Michael Moore was one of the men who spoke at the D.C. rally. He urged the crowd to get involved in politics:
“Say yes to be willing to put yourself on the line. It is that simple. The next thing on your to-do list: You have to run for office. You, yes, you. I can see your faces, 'No, no, Mike, not me.' This is not the time for shy people."
Iconic activist and former political prisoner Angela Davis said: “We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages."
While much of the rhetoric was aimed at Trump, the mission of the march goes way beyond resisting the new president. Susan Taylor, founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and former editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine, told BlackAmericaWeb viewers not to get stuck on Donald Trump.
“We need strategy. We don’t have a plan. We haven’t stood strongly together and sustained any movement since the Montgomery Boycott. We have to come together with a three or four point plan. I understand the pain and the depression…but get over it. We have the opportunity to really turn our ship around,” Taylor said.
The Million Women’s March has launched a new campaign to keep the momentum going: “10 Actions for the First 100 Days.” To sign up, go to www.womensmarch.com. For more information on Taylor’s mentoring organization, visit http://www.caresmentoring.org.