21.1.17.

 

I couldn’t fit all the incredible pictures from the marches onto this post so I’ve created a lil gallery of them…check it out here : https://hurtwoodmuse.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/the-best-photos-from-the-womens-marches-across-the-world/

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WASHINGTON D.C.
On Saturday 21st January 2017, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, women, men and children all over the world marched to show their support for everyone who had been belittled, abused and marginalised during Trump’s presidential campaign and who are now terrified to be living in a country with a narcissistic bigot as President.

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LONDON
The marches were inspired by Carmen Perez , who organised the Washington D.C march. Her campaign spread across America and Europe and soon dozens of facebook pages were being made to organise protests in LA, New York, London, Paris and many other cities. Scrolling through my social media feeds on the day of the marches was the most inspiring and heartwarming thing to see. From witty signs about Trump’s tiny hands and wotsit-like appearance, to brave, unapologetic banners screaming PUSSY POWER, to crowds of people holding hands, chanting and crying with joy, all over the world demonstrations of the people’s defiance and resilience were showing Trump exactly what we thought of him.

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Nairobi
2.5 million people at over 670 protests all over the world came together for the same cause, organised by strong women from all walks of life. 21.1.17 was a day of vibrant displays of unity in the face of injustice.

Because we just can’t have nice things, there were some who found these marches ‘petty’ and ‘useless’ and said that they defeated the point of democracy. I see where they are coming from – Trump won the electoral college vote and he’s President whether we like it or not. But the American women and men taking part in the protest weren’t denying that fact. Instead, they were just saying – hey, we’re not happy about this, people are scared and feeling threatened and we aren’t just going to sit here and let Trump have an easy four years. Not after the divides he has caused in our country. Not after he stood there in a position of power and influence and bullied people for his own gain. Not after he has threatened to change the laws that give women the right to their own bodies and to get rid of Planned Parenthood. Not after the terms ‘climate change’, ‘civil rights’ and ‘LGBT rights’ were removed from The White House website, mere hours after his inauguration. Now is not the time to stop fighting. We’ll respect Donald Trump when he learns to respect everyone else.

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This guy knows that the classic ‘boys will be boys’ expression needs to change – it is not an excuse for disrespectful behaviour.
 This picture really hit me hard. It is one thing to see thousands of women holding banners in protest against sexism, but to see a young man also so aware of the injustice and so in support of the cause gives me incredible hope for the future. Feminism is not a movement for exclusively females to take part in. In fact, often the most powerful change is brought about when those who belong to the ‘superior’ group recognise the need for change and use their position in society to advocate it.  He deserves a big high five!

I’m not ashamed to say that just writing this article is making me cry. I can’t describe the positivity and hope that these marches brought into my heart. They showed to me that in times as scary as these, those who try to turn us against each other can only bring us closer together.

You know you’re surrounded by the right people when many of your friends went to the protests in America and London. I decided to take advantage of this fact and get a couple of them to write a bit about their experience at the Women’s Marches.

Matilda Martin, 21.

Since attending the University of Virginia for my international exchange, I have been confronted with many conventions, beliefs and people that have upset and shocked me. I have found myself really invested in American politics since and before the election and have continuously been trying to get my head around the enduring presence of racism, the still antiquated, sexist traditions of university Greek life and the bigoted views of Trump supporters.

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But yesterday I marched for many reasons. I marched for myself as a woman, I marched for my gay friends, I marched because I wanted to exercise my right to free speech and peaceful protest. I marched because I have been the victim of sexism and – like most girls – unwarranted sexual advances. I had never been to a protest before, so participating in the march was totally overwhelming – in the best possible way. Our journey to the centre of DC only took five hours, but I know people travelled tremendous lengths to gather in cities and towns across the world, to stand together for human rights and be part of what was the biggest protest in US history. In Washington alone, over half a million men, women and children came together to march in solidarity, demonstrating that “we, the people” are not going to accept the agenda and bigoted political
rhetoric of the Trump administration without a serious fight.

But what I learnt is the march yesterday was about more than the election. It was about MORE than Trump. It was a widesprad plea and demand for compassion and tolerance, for people to look at difference and celebrate it. Looking around the crowds and the people I was marching next to, I saw different shades, different ages, gender, sexual orientations. I saw people of all fancy flavours marching together with signs that read “power to the PEOPLE”.

There were thousands of men at the march, leading the chants, hugging their partners and friends, carrying their children on their shoulders, showing that we are stronger together. It made me so happy to see so many men there supporting and fighting for what they believe in and demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the patriarchy.

A little anecdote :

My friends and I, stupidly, forgot to bring snacks for the day, and we were left pretty hungry in the middle of a stationary crowd with no exit route. On hearing us complaining about our growling stomachs, two old ladies gave us an endearing smile and immediately handed over some energy bars, together with a plastic bag of separated grapes. Our hearts melted. That small gesture seemed to capture the ambience and tone of the whole event. As if everyone in that march and supporting the march was saying; “we got you, its gonna be okay”.

Hopefully this is the beginning of a concerted effort to hold Trump and the discrimination to account. Power to the pussy, to the nasty women, to the LGBT community, to the men, to the children, to ANYONE who isn’t going to sit in silence as this orange buffoon tries to poison the air with his bullshit. Donald Trump, by trying to divide America up by race, religion, nationality and gender, has – as was proven yesterday – brought people closer together.

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Charlie Ghazi, 18

I marched because I do not think that it is acceptable that the leader of the United States of America is telling people that sexual assault is okay.

I marched because Trump coming into power has raised awareness of the many inequalities that women face.

I marched because it isn’t fair that women are often blamed for being sexually assaulted.

The amount of topics that people were protesting for was incredible! Including, women’s rights, awareness for the lgbtq+ community and protesting against racial discrimination amongst many others.

During this protest, I wasn’t driven by hate, but by love and acceptance for others. It was not my intention to shout words of hatred for Trump, but instead shout words of kindness and encouragement for those who are discriminated against frequently all over the world.

The overwhelming sense of community that was felt on Saturday was one that I’ll never forget. People of all backgrounds, all sexualities, all genders and all ages were marching together, laughing together and helping people in all minority groups.
I didn’t just march in order to protest against Trump, I marched in order to raise awareness for those who couldn’t march themselves. I marched because no one is free, when others are oppressed.


Here’s to strong women.

May we know them…

May we raise them…

May we be them.

By Molly la Fosse

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