On Saturday, January 21st, millions of women across the U.S. marched to show solidarity in times of uncertainty. Women stood up and let lawmakers know their voices will be heard. From Los Angeles to St. Paul, from Chicago to Washington, D.C., cities swelled with large numbers of not only women, but men, too. Estimates currently range from 3.2 to 5 million people who peacefully protested.
To put that number in perspective, Washington, D.C.'s current numbers roughly match the 1969 Anti-Vietnam protest in D.C. The Women's March may wind up being the largest single day protest in the history of the U.S. cultural institutions across the globe are collecting signs from the protest, keeping them as historical artifacts.
In response to the protests, President Donald Trump tweeted:
In response to his remarks, and to inspire generations to come with this incredible moment in history, we present to you Women's March series. The series will share stories from the Women's March, as experienced by the men and women who attended them.
Susan Bennett, Mechanicsburg, PA
Voted in 2016 Election
"I’ve voted in every November election since I turned 18. This was the first election that felt devastating to lose though."
What inspired you to go?
After the election, I felt suddenly jolted awake, like I had been asleep at the wheel. My preferred candidates didn’t win, so I resolved to make my voice heard. In our representative democracy, elected officials are public servants. I intend to let the people who are now working for me know exactly what I want. I’ve been calling and emailing my senators and representatives. Attending the Women’s March felt like another way to get my voice heard.
What are some of the keys issues that concern you in regards to women?
I’m very concerned about reproductive rights. Without a choice in whether or not to have children, women do not have full agency. This sends a message that we are not equal to men and labels us second-class citizens. I’m not okay with defunding Planned Parenthood or with a Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v Wade. I’m not okay with Congress repealing ACA and allowing insurance to charge me more for being a woman, since I need more preventative health services than a man.
What was your experience like at the Women's March in Washington, D.C.?
I had no idea what to expect at the Women’s March. I’d never been to a protest. My only goal for the day was to get to D.C.- to add to the total count. I’ve been disgusted by the way Donald Trump treats women, people of color, and people with disabilities. It seems like he doesn’t care about anyone who isn’t a fellow billionaire. I wanted to show up and be counted as someone who values equality, respect, and kindness.
I didn’t get to see any of the rally, because it was too crowded to get close. I stood among the crowds in the Mall and then marched across the Mall. I didn’t make it all the way to the White House. At one point, the crowd was at a standstill and it was unclear what was going on. My friends and I were wondering about what we should try to do.
A woman turned back to us with a wry smile and said something like “This is it. This is our experience.”
This simple statement reminded me not to miss what was happening to me by worrying about what the March should be. It was so crowded that the organizers had to cancel their original plan and shortened the march route.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who showed up and by the respect that the marchers showed to each other, to Metro workers, and to law enforcement. This was another wake up moment for me!
I feel energized and empowered after showing up and feeling the support of all those women and allies. The Women’s March is organizing 10 actions for the first 100 days, so I’ll be participating in that. I’m also watching to see what happens with education, the arts, and the environment.
#Marchlikeagirl was one of several hashtags Susan used when posting a photo of her at this Saturday's march. It seems that marching like a girl means breaking records and creating a place in history.