It’s not every day that you get to be a part of history, but on January 21, 2017 a South Pasadena coalition that included: Kathryn Compton, Scott Feldman, Caroline Bencze-Fernandez, Tanya and Talia Parker, Emily and Katie Markese, Susan and Albert Killackey, Loran Calvin and Izzy Calvin-Smith, Mary Kubacki, Evanne Harrison, Gerry Flynn-Polan and myself, helped make history at the Women’s March in Washington DC by joining people from all over the country to exercise our First Amendment Right to assemble and speak freely.
There were inspiring orators encouraging civic participation, artists and musicians sharing their creations, street theater and leadership conferences — all designed to convey a united message. The Women’s Marches and peaceful rallies from Boston to Los Angeles were joined by sister marches and rallies taking place all over the country and world, to declare that women’s rights are human rights and that those rights will be vigorously and relentlessly defended.
Recently, Republicans in Congress have promised to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that millions of women turn to for their reproductive health. Our new president stated during his campaign that women who have abortions, a legal procedure in the United States, should be punished. In light of these facts, one of the main protest themes centered on a woman’s sovereignty over her own body. Clever and powerful posters illustrated the point that a woman’s body is her own, not government property. The goal was to send our new president the message that women will not sit idly by as their rights are chipped away and will fight to promote equality for all. Judging by the numbers of both women and men attending the synchronized events: 550,000 in Washington DC, 750,000 in Los Angeles, 250,000 in Chicago, over 100,000 in Boston and New York City along with countless others around the world, the protesters embodied a global coalition.
The entire expanse of the Washington DC march route was already packed with people as the rally began, necessitating the spontaneous closure of parallel avenues running the length of the National Mall to accommodate the crowd as the march kicked off. While navigating the vast sea of pink-hatted demonstrators, it became apparent that we needed to adroitly adjust to the situation unfolding before us. It seemed a metaphor for the coming years when it will be important for us to stay flexible, yet united, alert and engaged, as we look out for the well being of those around us. Now, more than ever, this is how we will continue to make history together.
By Deb McCurdy