One day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hundreds of thousands of women met in Washington, D.C., to march for the rights of women. It was a reminder of the power of women but also of all people to come together to take a stand for the issues that matter most to them.
While I was not present at the march, I followed it on social media for much of the late morning and early afternoon, both on Twitter and Facebook. I saw much of the Women’s March presentations on Facebook Livestream. I saw women speak and sing and display signs about the importance of women’s rights (rights to be treated as equals, to be safe from domestic abuse, to receive equal pay for equal work, to not be assaulted [“grabbed by the p__y”], to be able to make their own choices about their bodies) but also signs for many other causes: black lives matter and empowerment of all minorities, immigrant issues, clean water (from indigenous populations to folks in Flint, MI), protections for all groups (from those who want to be sure there is never a Muslim registry to the elderly lady who had been confined in Japanese internment camps during WWII), environmental protections, preserving public education, and so many other topics.
It was amazing to see how many of my friends were actively involved in the marches that took place worldwide. (News articles estimate that more than 1 million people participated in the marches, and the numbers would be even greater than that, though counting crowds is notoriously difficult to do accurately.) At the same time, there were those asking why people were marching and what would it accomplish?
I believe many felt more hopeful and empowered after the marches. I believe that many, like myself, were inspired to further action. I believe that seeing so many come together in solidarity helped those of us who were feeling as if we were alone in our concerns to know that we are not.
Did everyone feel they could be a part of this march. No. There were voices to be heard that felt like the march left out certain viewpoints (pro-life women, conservatives who felt left out of what some labeled as a “liberal march”, Black Lives Matter supporters who wonder if the white marchers would be there for them in days to come as the racial struggle in this country continues). But I believe those who listened heard the concerns of people marching. I hope the marchers in turn will continue to be active on their topics of concern while also taking the time to hear the concerns of some of those who did not feel included or fully represented. I firmly believe this activity can spark increased dialogue if we’re open to it.
Below are some of the tweets about the march: