Last year, America experienced its first Women’s March, as hundreds of thousands of women and men expressed their opinions and peacefully protested the election of Donald Trump. This year, the second annual Women’s March served a similar empowering purpose, with the theme “Hear Our Vote” and “Power to the Polls.”
Among the crowd of powerful civilians were people of all races, genders, affiliations, and backgrounds who came together to make their voices heard. This year’s march was more focused on the power of voting and what could be achieved through its use. It encouraged utilizing voting as a powerful patriotic tool to create a desirable government and society, highlighting the exigency of the looming midterm elections. The march set aside all political affiliations and bipartisan affairs, and united women and people in general in an empowering movement for human rights and social justice. While it was a march for women’s rights, it also included a broad spectrum of issues plaguing our country today that included immigrant and LGBTQ rights.
Many people spoke at the march, including Laverne Cox, Scarlett Johansson, Adam Scott, Viola Davis, Olivia Wilde, and many more. American actress and political activist, Alfre Woodard, was one of the many speakers at the event. In her powerful speech, she extended the purpose of the march to the women not participating.
She stated, “we have to reach out to our sisters…who wear red baseball caps.. this is also about their rights, their protection, their children’s health… women together can stop this slide to the bottom. This goes way past party affiliations. Now it’s time to get on your feet, put that retweet into action, and engage. The 2018 midterms start today.”
Eva Longoria also spoke, and stated in her speech that “this march and this movement…extends beyond..one political party…what we’re calling for is sustainable and systematic change to the experience of women and girls in America.”
While there were about 750,000 people storming the streets of Downtown L.A. last year, the numbers were much smaller on Saturday at about 500,000. Though there were less people, the power of the people and their emotions was still strong and heard. The march started from Pershing Square at 9 in the morning and continued until about 3 in the afternoon, with people bearing signs and chanting passionate messages.
Another difference from the prior march was the controversy regarding the pink pussyhats, which dominated the scene in 2017. These hats came to reflect feminism and unity among women, however, there they were not as prominent among the crowds as they were last year. The reason behind this trend is that the pink hats exclude transgender women and people who classify as women, but don’t have female genitalia. These hats were also said to be offensive to people of color who did not identify with the light pink color, generally classified with lighter skinned women. Thus, this year many people distanced themselves from these hats and the harmful message they sent, yet others still wore them as a sign of feminine power.
Despite what people wore on their heads, this movement was an intense illustration of solidarity among human beings for each others rights and freedoms. It joined people from all backgrounds and continued the tradition of the Women’s March and the absolute necessity to speak up.
Photo by Xoshil Chen-Marquez