Women’s March fills nation’s capital

Leesburg, VA Kate Ford hands out bags with hats in them prior to the Women’s March. Also included in the bags are notes from the person who made the hat, thanking them for marching.
Photo Credit: Liesje Powers | Photo Editor

Broadcast by Jessica Babb | Broadcast Managing Editor, Story by Kalyn Story

The Women’s March in Washington was one of over 600 demonstrations around the world on Saturday. The Washington Post estimates that over 1 million people showed up to women’s marches across the country the day after President Trump’s inauguration.

Jennifer Anderson flew from Charlotte, North Carolina to march. This was not her first time marching for what she said are “basic human rights.” In 1960, when Anderson was 12 years old, she marched with her parents advocating for civil rights for African Americans.

“Marching with the civil rights movement in the ‘60’s is something I am proud of,” Anderson said. “Now I get to do it again, unfortunately, but I would not miss it for the world.”

Anderson said she marched for civil rights for all Americans and for all women around the world. Specifically, she said she is marching for the right to education, the right for women to control their bodies and the right to have adequate health insurance and most of all, her granddaughter.

“I want my granddaughter to know that she is strong and powerful and know that there is nothing she can’t do,” Anderson said. “I didn’t have that as a kid, I was taught that women should be in the house. I want her to be whoever she wants to be and I need her to know that. I march so all young girls who are too young to march and too young to understand, but I want them to know they can do anything and be anything they want.”

David Carriway attended the march wearing a shirt that read “I love a nasty woman.” The phrase, “nasty woman” began as an insult when the then presidential-hopeful Donald Trump used it to refer to Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton at a debate last year. Clinton supporters then embraced the phrase, calling themselves and each other “nasty women” as a compliment.

“Me saying ‘I love a nasty woman’ is an attempt to turn his rhetoric back on itself,” Carriway said. “Not to be demoralized by what he says, now calling someone a nasty women is a compliment, nasty to him means to not back down in the face of opposition.”

Carriway said he is most upset by the hatred that the election and specifically, Trump’s campaign brought out in Americans.

“I march because like many people we just kind of have a feeling of direst with the current administration and the way his campaign was run,” Carriway said. “I feel like it breeds all sorts of bigotry and discrimination and I think everyone is here today to try to move in the right direction, just try to keep people united but at the same time combat the bigotry we’ve seen increased by the campaign rhetoric.”

Speakers at the march included actress Scarlett Johansson, singer Alicia Keys, actress America Ferrera, actress Janelle Monae, singer Madonna, activist Van Jones, filmmaker Michael Moore, actress and comedian Amy Schumer, and Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother. They spoke about the importance of funding Planned Parenthood, equal pay for women, women and women of color’s representation in government, police brutality and transgender rights.

Michael Moore provided attendees with a list of actions they can take following the march to continue to fight for what they believe in. His list included calling Congress daily, joining local activist groups, taking over the Democratic Party and running for office.

Alicia Keys recited Maya Angelou’s “I Will Rise” before singing “Girl on Fire” and activist Van Jones urged marchers to love all, even people who voted for President Trump.

“When it gets harder to love, let’s love harder,” Jones said.

Kate Ford from Leesburg, Va. said she could feel the love from all the people attending the march. Hours before the march started Ford said she saw a woman giving out hand-knitted pink hats for women to wear during the march. Ford took several hats. Inside her hat was a note from the woman who made it and read: “Dear hat wearer thank you for marching to represent all women, human rights along with gender and racial justice and equality are essential to the success of our country, march proudly. Love, Erica from Oak Park Michigan.”

Ford said she handed out hats on the train to the march and made friends with other women who were headed there as well.

“It really is like a community here,” Ford said. “Everyone is looking to be kind to each other and show each other love, it truly is amazing.”

Anderson, who traveled to Washington alone to attend the march, said she experienced the same type of kindness Ford described as she was also given a pink hat from another marcher.

Anderson said she witnessed people on the train continually offering their seats to other women standing. At one point, Anderson said she asked a police officer where she could get some water and before he could answer the woman standing behind her handed Anderson a water bottle.

“ I came here alone, but honestly have not felt alone for one moment. There is always a friendly face always someone to talk to,” Anderson said. “I flew from North Carolina alone to come and march, but I have not been alone since the moment I got to D.C. I am surrounded by my sisters I have never met who have been taking care of me since I got here, it has been a wonderful experience.”

The march, which ran from morning to evening, was met with opposition throughout the day as well.

There were several counter-protesters who came and formed a circle at the center of the march. Among the groups represented were Trump supporters and pro-life proponents. Other demonstrations included men with megaphones who shouted at marchers and criticized the movement. Despite counter-protestors, the Post reported that no arrests were made at any marches in the United States Saturday and that there were no reports of violence.