Women’s March on Washington DC: The people speak!
by Jan Foster Miiller
Pink hats abound. My friend Rita and I have come to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. We soon discover it is not just a women’s march but a people’s march: all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, often in pink hats—the theme of the day! We quickly join the movement flowing to the rally. “To” is a key descriptor as we and much of the crowd never get close enough to see or hear the speakers or projection screens. The turn-out has long since overflowed into surrounding streets and open spaces. For me, it is about the people. There is a joie de vivre and feeling of jubilation
throughout the crowd that spreads through the day.
The theme for the march is “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” under which a number of issues from ending violence to environmental justice have been included. But the signs people carry speak in their own voices. There are strong themes of women’s and reproductive rights, the character flaws of Mr. Trump, and concerns of respect and dignity for all, pockets of concern for other issues including gay and trans rights, disabilities, immigration, health care, and Trump’s relationship with Putin. There are a few X-rated signs and a couple of mean-spirited ones but mostly the signs reflect people’s earnest quest for equality and respect for all. One young girl dancing in front of her family held a sign saying, “I shouldn’t have to hear those words!” Another sign read, “No matter what happens, Donald J. Trump will lie about it.”
We have the opportunity to speak with many who have traveled from all over. There are family groups, grandparents marching for their granddaughters, women my age carrying signs reading “I can’t believe I still have to march for this!,” a few elders tottering on their walkers or supported by family members, and groups of young people with a lot of energy. The crowd is incredibly self-organized and good-natured.
When it comes time for the march, we first hear it is delayed for 1/2 hour and then that it is cancelled. I think, “That is not going to happen!” Then people begin to march. We hear another route has been negotiated. This mass of people that has been casually enjoying an afternoon in the park suddenly becomes a river moving down the street.
The energy changes, no less good-natured but forward-moving and determined. Chants are frequent, a favorite being, “Welcome to your first day! We will not go away!” After an hour of high-spirited marching, I need to leave for the train station. Only when I step out of the stream am I able to see the immensity of the march spreading before and behind me. I see neither beginning nor end. I look for a place to photograph the scene and meet a woman who tells me, “I’m a D.C. native. I’ve been here through four presidents and I’ve never seen anything like this!”
In the two miles I hike across the city to the station, even with the immensity of the march in progress, the streets and sidewalks are filled with people in pink hats or carrying signs. Only when we get on the train and start talking with others do we get news about the the marches all over the world and the huge turnouts!
In the next two days there is opportunity to talk with many others. I am surprised by the number who traveled from various states to meet family members and march together and the mothers and daughters of all ages who came together. When I ask women why they came, I hear the same story that led me. Many have never done anything like this before but when hearing about the march knew they had to come.
My sense is there will be many stories told for many years of the day we all marched. As a high school girl from Texas with glowing eyes said to me, “We made history!” In the meantime, there is much work to do. I feel graced to have been in Washington on this day.
Jan Foster Miiller is an18-yr. resident of the Baca Grande. She works as a Classical Five-Element Acupuncturist and is starting to become a political activist.
Kizzen Laki & Janet Woodman at the Denver Women’s March.
Marchers in Denver, Colorado. photo by Rama Dennett
The Women’s March in Denver, Colorado
‘I’m with her!’
by Kizzen Laki
On January 21, 2017 many people from Crestone and the San Luis Valley attended Women’s March events. Some went to Alamosa, others to Denver and Santa Fe, and some made the trip to Washington, DC and even places beyond to join with friends and family on this historic day. The Women’s March on January 21 was the largest single demonstration in our nation’s history, in the world’s history. Millions attended in the United States and thousands more around the world—from the Arctic to Antarctica they marched in solidarity with America for women’s rights, human rights and to express their concern for the world’s future.
Myself, Janet Woodman and friends and family members went to Denver to be a part of history, to make signs and send the message that “we are here”.
The mission statement from the promoters of the Women’s March on Denver said:
“We are women and men from all over Colorado and many of the surrounding states. We come from all walks of life. We represent all kinds of political and religious
ideas. We are professionals, stay-at-home parents, and retired. We are all different and yet, we are all the same. We are all concerned about the world we live in and seek to make it better—for everyone.”
And it was true. All types and ages of people showed up at the Denver Civic Center Park to support the Women’s March on Washington. Over 200,000 people came from all over to join the march despite the chilly day. The huge crowd filled the park and filled the nearby streets. We had no idea how vast the crowd was until we were able to look via smart phones at the view the news helicopters circling overhead were broadcasting.
Women, men, children, families carrying signs about what was important to them. Some adamant: “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance!” and “Hands off public lands!”. Some humerous: “His hands are too small to build a wall!”
Many, of course, were about women’s rights, to have control of their own bodies, to make their own reproductive health decisions, to have equal pay, and to reject the normalization of sexual assault. “Keep your tiny hands, out of my underpants!” There were many signs with arrows pointing in all directions that said “I’m with her!” Others: “They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.” And a favorite, “Science is not a liberal conspiracy.” Held by a man: “Quality men love strong women.”
The mood was one of celebration rather than anger despite some angry signs. How can someone be angry when faced with a sea of pink pussy cat hats worn by women, men and even police officers? Thousands of pink hats were handmade in response to Trump saying “I just grab them by the pussy.” Women were reclaiming their bodies. “This pussy grabs back!”
People talked to each other, smiled, shared food. There was a happiness, a celebration in all being together marching together for a common cause. Chants rolled from one end of the vast crowd to the other in a call and response. “This is what Democracy LOOKS like! This is what Democracy LOOKS like!”
Guest speakers came to the heart of many issues: women’s rights, human rights, LGBTQ rights, concern about climate change, minority safety and immigrant rights, how to protect public lands. People were encouraged to resist, to participate, to vote, to be an activist, to hold fast to their ideals and, very importantly, “to get to work!”
The marches were organized and led by women, helped by men. When Women’s March reports came in from across the country, despite there being over 3 million people out marching, not a single arrest was made. Historic. Herstoric.
Kizzen Laki is at 33 year resident of Crestone and the publisher of The Crestone Eagle.