WASHINGTON – On the first anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, thousands of women, joined by many men, marched from the Lincoln Memorial area to the White House on Saturday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March, which was one of the largest protests in U.S. history.
Chanting “my body, my choice” and “this is what democracy looks like” the crowd was pushing for more women to run for office as they carried signs supporting women’s rights, reproductive rights, Black Lives Matter and other issues.
Protester Jessica Beard, 33, a D.C. native who carried a sign that said “invest in clit coin” on one side and advocated for centering voices of women and non-binary people of various identities on the other, said she was at the march to express her opposition to the policies of President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled government, saying they hurt women with intersectional identities.
“I really hope we all are motivated enough to elect better people to represent us,” she said.
Many marchers brought their children.
“I just want her to know that she has tremendous rights and ability and needs to stand up for herself and for her fellow human beings,” said protester Maria Coston of her 11-year-old daughter, Mia.
The march also coincided with the first day of a government shutdown, and several members of Congress. Including former Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, urged the protesters to vote for women candidates.
Kaine said in his home state of Virginia, 15 Democrats, 11 of whom are women, unseated 15 male Republican incumbents in the state legislature.
“If women achieve equal representation in our government, it will transform our policy and it will transform our politics,” he said.
Pelosi stood with other House Democrats and said, “We don’t agonize. We organize.”
Protesters at first responded enthusiastically to all speakers, however, by the third hour, they were beginning to chant that they wanted to march, and some left before all of the speakers finished.
The march also came just one day after the 2018 March for Life, an anti-abortion march. A few people counter-demonstrated the women’s march, including one man shouting that abortion is murder into a megaphone.
Organizer Emily Patton said Tuesday that she expected at least 8,000 people to attend. Over 12,800 people said they would attend and another 21,900 expressed interest on the event’s Facebook page. The march had three main goals, Patton said:
- to support women running for office and encourage more to do so, especially women of color or women from diverse backgrounds;
- to promote voter registration and civic engagement;
- to partner with community groups that are already doing this type of advocacy work