The future is female but more importantly, so is the new resistance movement! On Saturday, January 21st, one day after the presidential inauguration millions of people around the world took to the streets to participate in Women’s Marches. The main march was held in Washington DC where it is estimated that a crowd of at least 470,000 showed up to defend women’s rights.
In DC marchers hear the fiery words of live speeches by feminist icons including Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, and Janet Mock and celebrities America Ferrara, Scarlett Johansson, Katy Perry, Ashley Judd, Cher, Madonna, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monaé and Michael Moore. Pink pussy-hatted women of all ages and ethnicities and a good amount of progressive men held signs that expressed hundreds of different messages against the current US president and in support of reproductive rights, people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ community and the planet.
Among the many chants emerged a new rhyme directed specifically towards Trump: “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!”The sheer numbers that turned out to attend sister marches symbolized the power of the people to mobilize peacefully in the face of heartbreaking push-backs to human rights. There were no arrests reported in the largest marches, even in Chicago where the unexpectedly large crowd of 250,000 meant that there was no room to march and the event had to be declared a rally.
Early reports estimate that there were 750,000 marchers in Los Angeles, 400,000 in New York City, 250,000 in Chicago, 100,000 each in Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, Oakland, the Twin cities, and Oregon. In smaller cities large portions of the population turned out to march. In Asheville, North Carolina – an election battleground town of 85,000 it was estimated that 10,000 showed up. Women’s Marches also took place on all seven continents and the grand total of sister marches came to over 600 events.
Trump’s own inauguration paled in comparison to the largest marches. It drew only around 160,000 (compared to Obama’s 2008 inauguration audience of 1.8 million), a fact that the president and his press secretary, Sean Spicer, have unsuccessfully tried to dispute since the inauguration on Friday. Specifically regarding the marches, Trump has declined to comment, other than to tweet, “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.” As usual, his comment came from absolutely no merit – in fact, black women, who made up a large part of the Women’s March in DC came out in droves to vote in the 2016 election, 94% of those who showed up to the polls voted in support of Clinton.
In New York City on Sunday, the resistance moved inside to The Untitled Space gallery where feminist and activist Rose McGowan hosted an artist panel with curator Indira Cesarine as part of the programming of UPRISE / ANGRY WOMEN, an art exhibit that features the work of eighty female artists responding to the election and the current political climate. Held on the 44th anniversary of Roe vs Wade, the talk focused on art activism and the future of women’s rights in America in light of the Trumpocalypse. Participating artists included Ann Lewis, Annika Connor, Audrey Lyall, Cinnamon Willis, Daniela Raytchev, Jackie Maidenfed, Maggie Dunlap. The Untitled Space will host another artist talk on Thursday, January 26th and UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN runs through January 28th.
Don’t let the the momentum of the Women’s Marches fade! Go to the official website of the Women’s March on Washington to view their new 10 Actions/100 Days initiative which outlines a plan to take action on a different issue every ten days.
-Jasmine Williams for The Untitled Magazine