A Reflection on the Women’s March


Alexa Barnes '18, Writer

As I turned turned the corner onto Larkin, a smile flickered across my face. A sea of pink hats, balloons, and protest signs greeted me at Civic Center Plaza. As the sun set, the volume rose. Amidst a crowd of umbrellas, an abundance of colorful signs appeared. Some with quotes, some with expletives, and some with desperate pleas to protect healthcare or immigrants or the LGBTQIA community. I donned a rain poncho and lifted my cardboard sign.

This was the Women’s March, and I was part of a movement. On January 21st, millions of people around the globe walked to express their discontent with the American political landscape. This wasn’t a protest, but rather a worldwide, bipartisan display of support for women’s rights and human rights.

On November 9th, Teresa Shook, a retired attorney from Hawaii, created a Facebook Event, calling for a march after Mr. Trump’s inauguration. When she woke up the next morning, she had received over 10,000 responses to her event. Bob Bland, a New York designer, had this same idea. Bland worked to consolidate a number of events into one large gathering, The Women’s March on Washington. As expected attendance to the march soared, people around the world organized “sister marches” to the Women’s March on Washington. Estimated attendance at the Washington DC was nearly three times that of the previous days inauguration, and attendance topped three million worldwide.

Despite the name, the march was open to all genders, as long as attendees adhered to the request for nonviolence and respect. The official principles of the march include Nonviolence, Reproductive Rights, LGBTQIA Rights, Worker’s Rights, Civil Rights, Disability Rights, Immigrant Rights, and Environmental Justice, but it was clear that gender equality was one of the biggest draws.

With a crowd of 100,000, San Francisco’s City Hall joined in the celebration, basking in the glow of pink lights. As we began to march, darkness fell over the crowd, but definitely not a hush. An unseen conductor rhythmically beat a drum, leading us in the battle cries of the resistance. “No Hate, No Fear, Immigrants are welcome here”, we declared. From the buildings above us, groups of people joined in our chants. Preaching our concerns on a range of topics that had recently come into question, we marched along Market together. Even a downpour couldn’t dampen our spirits.

Some called it an anti-Trump protest. And there were plenty of signs calling for his impeachment, or criticizing his cabinet. But the experience was wholly unifying. As I surveyed the crowd, I noted that we were all there for different reasons. Whether our signs called for the protection of a marginalized group, the preservation of affordable health care, or an acknowledgment of global warming, we all attended to voice our concerns.

Americans pride themselves on their acceptance. It’s vital that we accept all people, and acknowledge truth. But it’s also important that we recognize our current situation. We are living in a country that is deeply divided. It is crucial that we are respectful of authority and the views of others, but it is also important that we do not regress to silence, and continue fighting for what we believe to be right. The strength and love of over three million people can not be easily ignored.