Popular Vote Finds a Voice in Global Women’s March
By Isobel McCrum and Ellie Story
On the first day of Donald Trump’s presidency, seas of pink hats, brightly colored poster boards, raised fists and rallying cries united people around the world in protest against Washington’s new administration.
In Trump’s inaugural speech, he emphasized that he is “transferring power from Washington D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.” The crowds who filled the streets in protest on Jan. 21 set out to remind Trump what the American people look like, encompassing every race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion and ability.
“I think that the volume of the marches around the country, and especially the march in D.C., overshadowed what was going on at the White House. I think that the energy was really attractive for me,” said Rhea Leiber (‘18), who attended the march. “Just hearing, from the lead up, all the stories of people coming from so far away, planes filled with one hundred percent women, and people knitting hats — that’s amazing, and it’s such a rarity and it’s really special and I wanted to be there for it.”
The numbers of attendees have been highly disputed, most fervently by Mr. Trump and his administration. In fact, they falsely claimed that the inauguration was host to almost double the number of march attendees. According to multiple major news outlets, Jan. 21 saw the largest protest in American history.
“I felt like I was making a slight change. It was great to be there and see everyone coming together,” said attendee Julian Isikoff (‘20).
The march on Washington was initiated by Rebecca Shook, a pastry chef from Hawaii, the day after Donald Trump was elected. What started as a small Facebook event quickly turned into the mother march that prompted offshoots in nearly every state in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world. It soon caught the attention of leading activists and feminists including Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland, who helped Shook create an event that was bigger than the original “March on Washington.”
Unprecedented numbers grounded D.C. to a halt. All too quickly, hundreds of thousands of people became one stagnant mass of protesters waiting to move. For about an hour protesters chanted “march” over and over again. But there were simply too many people to move as a collective. Groups of the crowd slowly began to disperse into smaller marches, making up alternative routes through the city.
Members of the the Packer community showed their support in a number of ways. Upper, Middle and Lower School students protested in New York City, and upwards of 25 students attended the march in D.C., many alongside their families and friends.
“I’m excited to be around like-minded people,” said Stella Hackett (‘17) on the day of the march in D.C. “I’m excited to feel powerful after feeling really beaten down after the election. It’s exciting to see how many people are actually on [my] side while it felt very lonely in [my] little bubble in Brooklyn.”
Despite confusion over whether or not the march was supposed to be exclusively female or not, there was a huge presence of allied males. It was a moment where people came together to remind Mr. Trump that a violation of just one person’s rights is a violation of everyone’s rights.
“This should not just be an issue that concerns women; this concerns all humans,” said Lucas Kimball (‘17). “It shows that women aren’t the only people who think that the way that Donald Trump has spoken about and treated women is unfair and unacceptable. Men feel the same way.”