From Beijing to Buenos Aires, from Denver to Dallas, from California to the Carolinas, hundreds of thousands of activists once again took to the streets for the second iteration of the Women’s March.
Many protested Donald Trump’s presidency and his administration’s policies, but Saturday’s march made clear how a movement that began as a protest has evolved. A year of the Trump presidency, coupled with the galvanizing experience of the #MeToo moment, has made activists eager to leave a mark on the country’s political system. A key component of Saturday’s demonstrations was an effort to harness the enthusiasm behind the Women’s March and translate that into political sway at the polls this fall.
“Last year it was about hope. This year it’s about strength,” said Diane Costello, 67, a retired teacher and member of Moms Against Violence, a group that advocates for gun control, said as she marched through Manhattan.
One of the biggest demonstrations on Saturday unfolded in New York, where the atmosphere was festive.
“This us what democracy looks like!” Hawkers sold knitted pink “pussy hats,” #MeToo buttons and American flags.
Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg even gave a short but fiery speech.
“I love the fact that I can’t see the end of this,” she said as she gestured toward the crowd stretching before her. “We started a movement that’s still moving. We are here as women to say we’re not going to take it any more.”
Deanna Santana, 60, of Hamden, Conn., a veteran and retired professional in children services, said she came to this year’s march to voice her support for immigrants and the right to health care.
“My family is half Mexican and half Puerto Rican, and I recently lost my husband to cancer,” she said. “I’m doing this for him.”
Meanwhile, in Washington, thousands of demonstrators gathered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and lined the frozen-over Reflecting Pool to rally for women’s rights, urge women to run for public office and call on citizens to fully engage on issues from sexual assault and racial equality to immigrant protections and gun violence.
The rally was organized to rekindle the activism and civic participation ignited by the massive Women’s March on Washington held the day after President Trump’s inauguration last year. Organizers said they hope to build on efforts that have pushed women’s issues to the forefront during the politically chaotic year since Trump took office.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers on the stage and told the crowd they had “transformed the world.”
In Chicago, organizers claimed to have eclipsed the 250,000 marchers from last year, despite only 40,000 signing up online.
For some young people, the march was less about politics and more about the normalization of sexual harassment and the mistreatment of women during the Trump presidency.
Jane Bailey, a 15-year-old from the suburb of Indian Head Park, was marching because she said her rights have been threatened. She and her friends said that since Trump was elected, boys at their high school have become more emboldened to bully girls online.
“It really made me angry and want to fight,” she said.
At the White House, Trump weighted in on the marches via Twitter.