Women's March on Washington
January 21, 2017 marked the day of the single largest protest in history. Lead by a committee of women of color, people around the world protested the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.
I stood, marched and photographed, with both pride and claustrophobia, alongside an estimated 470,000 others through the malls and streets of Washington D.C., this is estimated to be three times the number of people who attended the inauguration just the day prior. While Washington D.C. was the heart of the march, close to 700 march sites arose around the world, on all seven continents, with total participant estimates up to five million globally.
The election of Donald Trump made us all look at our neighbors differently, no matter what side of the aisle you fell. Many of us wondered how anyone could push aside Trump's messages of hate, his encouragement of violence, and his cabinet of antigay, anti-female members (just to mention a few things), while many others felt convinced electing Trump was the only way to feed their starving families, and the only way for their desperate communities to finally be noticed by Washington.
Messages of the march were of love, equality, acceptance, unity, and environmental justice; there was a clear common goal to show up to the fight against hatred, racism, all discrimination, climate change deniers and any and all laws or regulations put on anyone's body.
Looking at the faces of the women and men in my photos, you can see the emotion; you can see the pride and the anger, the resilience and the determination, as well as the very real exhaustion... the feelings of grief and of defeat still not far behind us. In the faces of the younger marchers you can see the very real positivity and hopefulness for the future, happy to be fighting the good fight.
The feeling of being at the Women's March on Washington reminds me of a story told to me by a friend while we were both participating in Semester at Sea during the spring 2010 voyage, the story was of my friend's brother's experience just a few years prior on the same ship. When pirates attempted to attack and board the MV Explorer, all 1000 students, teachers, and crew were ordered by the captain to stand united on the top deck, showing the pirates just how many people they would have to get through to take control of the ship. It worked, and the pirates fled. On January 21, 2017, millions of pissed off women (and men) took to the top deck to show the boat of pirates that this ship was not for the taking. The marches around the world were thunderous and the numbers in one city alone were enough to send chills across your body.
"We can turn this ship in the way we want to go, man!" - Jeff Bridges (2019 Golden Globe Awards)