The Women’s March on Washington became a march representing much more than just women.
On Saturday, January 21, the day after inauguration, more than a half million protesters entered the capitol for the Women’s March on Washington to rally against the new president’s policies. The women’s march may have been the largest in history, tallying more than 3 million on seven continents.
“I’m amazed at the crowds,” 85 and ¾ year-old Maryland resident Victoria Smith said. She came out to show support for all groups regardless of classification or color.
This gathering united different niche ideas; principles surrounding climate change, LGBTQIA rights, reproductive rights, and voting rights, among many others represented. The recurring theme? Equality.
“Both halves matter,” former Peace Corps volunteer Brian Barker said of women’s rights while protesting with wife, Rebecca. Poverty was another motivating factor for his attendance. “What really bothers me is the appropriation of the language, this call of populism. We have billionaires coming into the White House that are going to be taking advantage of the same people that have proclaimed these [Trump] policies are going to help.”
“I am very concerned about any legislation that would limit women’s access to quality reproductive healthcare services, contraception, screenings for breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases, including the right to a safe and legal abortion,” Nancy Hedinger said. Hedinger is President of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. The group also sponsored the march, emphasizing women’s rights and supporting legislation for their cause.
Two men participating in the ongoing fight and supported by the LWV of NJ are Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who introduced the Equal Rights Amendment on the day of the Women’s March.
“At a time when Republicans in Congress and the Trump White House are threatening to undermine fundamental gains in the march towards progress and gender equality, the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment has never been more important than it is now,” Booker said in a press release.
“Women are speaking out and saying, ‘Our rights are human rights and we should be recognized’,” Texas native Elsa Rodriguez said, who wants President Donald Trump to know he’s being watched, but also to show him the march is about unity.
Another Texan, Sandra Hernandez, echoed showing unity was a driving force.
“We’re uniting as human beings. We’re standing up for each other. We’re standing as a unified country – we’re not divided.”