Charlotte Quarrie and Emma Tohill
FOR THE QC
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, Jan 21, the day after President Trump’s inauguration, to voice concerns on much of what Trump has expressed throughout his campaign and presidency so far. The grassroots movement, which started on social media as the Women’s March on Washington, brought millions to the streets in cities across the world. Though it wasn’t explicitly anti-Trump in nature, it certainly turned out to be so.
Posters and homemade signs regarding immigrant and abortion rights, transgender awareness, Planned Parenthood, and general equality and human rights were held by nearly every marcher in sight, who were chanting and singing in protest.
The rainy weather took a break to let the sun shine on families marching together, live music, and an abundance of enthusiastic guest speakers including celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Laverne Cox, Barbara Streisand, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Fonda, and more.
The day started with a simple Facebook page urging women to march in Washington D.C. on the day after the inauguration. The idea caught on, and soon enough sister gatherings were being planned across the country. Others sprouted more spontaneously around the world, resulting in huge turnouts worldwide.
Event organizers estimated nearly a half million gathered for the flagship march in D.C. and a quarter million in both Chicago and New York. Los Angeles hosted the biggest gathering of the day, with an estimated 750,000 clogging streets around Pershing Square for miles.
The day of the march, Whittier College students living in the Social Justice and Equality dorm rose early to design posters and board the bus that Visiting Associate Professor of Social Work Hamilton Williams arranged to take students to the march. Those riding the school-provided bus shared donuts and continued to draw posters on the drive towards the city. There was a shared anxiety but also an excited charge. Marchers knew the protest would have its place in history books, and those attending would have a memorable story to tell for the rest of their lives.
Those student-protestors could have made a right from Main St. to 1st St. and bumped into some familiar faculty faces. “Above all I felt lifted by the march because it made apparent how many of us share a more inclusive vision,” Professor of English Jonathan Burton said. “I’m hoping to be less complacent in my role as an educator. Where I have tended to complain, I want instead to take action.”
Some professors expressed what the march meant for them. “I am a feminist … I am a queer, Latina single mom, so the stakes of the election and the march are high for me,” said Professor of Anthropology Teresa Delfin. “My sons are only five and eight, but together we followed the election closely. We talked about the way that history would view the election and the movements it has inspired, and they both decided that they wanted to be part of the women’s march. They said they wanted ‘the helicopters to count them and show how strong the movement is’ and wanted the world to know they were a part of the resistance.”
Protests have been a monumental part of history in America. From abolitionism, to the women’s suffragette movement, to civil rights activist and anti-war demonstrations, protests have been a part of democracy and progress throughout American history.
The press pays close attention to the marchers and it’s empowering to be counted.
The organizers of the Women’s March was indeed a march and not a protest. Whatever you want to call it, it was peaceful. Many women attended with babies on their backs and with children holding “Nasty Woman” signs.
Jan. 21, 2017 was a day of comprehensible retaliation throughout the nation. The nonviolent passion in the crowd provides many Americans with a sense of comfort in a controversial political time. Protests throughout the country had the same desired impact, creating a united feeling and sending a strong message to the country’s current leadership.