Voices Raised in Protest: Women’s Marches, Part 1.2
This is Part 1.2. These voices were first heard in Part 1.1, found here.
We asked friends and readers who attended the January 20, 2017 Women’s March on Washington, and sister marches around and beyond the US to share their experiences with us. Here is some of what you told us:
Who you saw
DC March: Lots of white women, families, lots of queer-leaning-looking folks, older white women, a handful of gay male couples (maybe 1 with a baby?), a drag queen, some women of color, a few clergyfolk (women in collars). i saw a big tour bus for trump/pence before getting out the uber. had vomit in my mouth around being a dc resident having to be in the same city with them bammas. i appreciate that chevy chase community put up all the rainbow flags to welcome pence. i want to get one myself. i know folks in my community that were voluntold to perform for inauguration so that's interesting - Kim
DC March: Many many many white women. 55 was the average age. Loved seeing how many families turned out. And how many truly elderly people there were. - Meg
St. Paul March: Mostly white women, although a fair amount of diversity. Men, children were there too. Girls holding signs made me tear up a lot. Lots of pink hats. Friends were spotted throughout the march - such a good feeling to connect here. We didn't need words; there was an understanding among us all. It was beautiful. - AFP
DC March: Middle class white women. One woman in sling backs and a fur coat. I complimented her shoes and she said she had been locked out of her apartment the night before. In New York City. But she wasn't going to miss the march. In Washington DC. - Eleanor
DC March: I saw people of all ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and talked to people from all over the country. - Louisa
NYC March: Every stripe of life: male and female, gay and straight, white, black, asian, many young women in hijab, young women, children, babies in strollers and baby carriers, disabled people, really, every type of person I could imagine. There were even accidental protestors, trucks got stuck in traffic jams of people and the drivers were cheering in solidarity, for example. The police were the only people i encountered who were not jovial. - Annie S.
DC March: Lots of folks! Mostly women, obviously. I hesitate to say white women, because some definitely appeared white, but they could have also identified differently. For example, we met a group of young women from LA who may have appeared white but were not (they may have been Hispanic, or Filipino, but I didn't ask). We also met a black woman who was in either her 50s or 60s who was marching with her son. My general impression is that the crowd was more diverse than what the media may be portraying. - Tina
DC March: I saw women. I saw elderly couples in wheelchairs, teenagers in trees, derby roller teams, women holding hands, babies in carriers, men in boas, women with painted cat faces, women dressed like pussies, women carrying drums and playing bazookas, boys in pink hats. The crowd was so diverse. I saw ALL OF US. - Nancy Pearson
Madison, WI March: We saw all ages, men and women, lots of families. While the crowd seemed mostly white, many of the signs reflected the multicultural image of the country, support for various groups. It was interesting to see the many signs advocating for things other than women's rights, things like Environmental protection, racial equality, economic equality. It was clearly more than a "Women's March," but a chance to challenge a full range of negative policy decisions. - White, college educated mother, 40.
Your encounters with law enforcement or Trump supporters
DC March: The only encounter was when a cop car lead an ambulance through the crowd. There were no protestors by me, though I heard of stories where there were a few. Walking to the metro after the march, one member of our group saw a woman and two young children with Trump hats trying to get away from the crowd. - Tina
DC March: Zero. One guy passing by on our way back to the train said, "Say her name? Whose name?" I said, "Sandra Bland." He said, "cool thanks." He was the closest I came to sensing anything counter. Oh wait, there was a woman shouting at us from her hotel balcony, "You lost! You lost! You lost lost lost!" She shouted through a rolled up magazine. Law enforcement was very spare. - Eleanor
NYC March: The police in nyc continually blocked streets and tried to keep groups from coming together especially right at trump tower. they also did not block traffic on 57th street which created a log jam and difficulty moving through the area. I did have a counterprotestor in my area, she was a woman alone like myself and she was screaming that she voted for women's rights by voting for trump. I very calmly asked her "what rights" and she said "huh"? and I said "what rights?, I'm willing to listen" and then she said "states' rights" and I said what does that mean, and she said " I believe in a free market society " and I asked her what that means and she ran away! - Annie S.
DC March: ZERO. None. The entire day. 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. Nary a Trump supporter to be seen. Saw my first police officers on my way to the subway at 5:30. They were pointing people towards the stations. - Meg
Madison, WI March: I did not see or encounter any counter-protestors, but Madison is a pretty liberal pocket. I pointed out police when I saw them, so my daughter would know who to ask for help if we got separated. I did notice a few ACLU "legal observers", which I found interesting. - Rebecca Wallendall
DC March: I got really stuck on a narrow fenced in sidewalk across from the White House where a man in a trump hat was shouting at another man. They argued and none of us could move for an hour and then the secret service made us all turn around and go backwards. - Nancy Pearson
DC March: No law enforcement at all. This is literally my only experience with a trump person: My friend and I arrived before 8 am. We came in by Farragut West where the streets were pretty empty at that time. The Starbucks wasn't open yet and we saw a group of about 5 other people at the doors. A man with ski cap that said 'TRUMP" on the front was standing there with women who had pink pussy hats on. I immediately turned and looked at my friend and nodded toward him, bracing myself for some kind of exchange already. We went in and ordered, waited for our lattes. We just ignored him after that but I could see that he kept staring at me. As I left he came to the exit, holding up his phone to me saying he wanted to talk to me. I said no thank you. He persisted phone in hand. I knew he was recording me, so I clearly said "I'm not engaging with you"... he argued saying I should talk to him still holding his phone and saying he just wanted his friends to see the other side, I told him repeatedly I wasn’t engaging before he went away. Of course I was very annoyed and amped up because he was clearly recording even that exchange. - White woman, director of marketing, 39
DC March: I high-fived a lot of the cops I saw toward the end. I've had negative encounters (assault) by a 3District cop in DC when I first moved here during the Bush years so...a drump supporter seemed friendly. he too was Black. and maybe a little flirtateous. I didn't try to fool with him although he was cute. i aint got time for no trump supporters. - Kim
St. Paul March: One person was dressed in Trump-supporting attire and was apparently pepper-spraying people. They announced this at the rally and encouraged everyone to let the police do their jobs - they are protecting us. Everyone cheered. That was nice. I saw one man with homophobic signs, yelling "faggots!". People surrounded him and chanted together things like, "we're here, we're queer, and fuck this guy". I'm not into returning hate speech so I didn't participate in that. One woman (part of the woman's march) kept trying to start chants that were aimed at the GOP and were mean-spirited...no one joined. That was cool. - AFP
Madison, WI March: I saw police standing along the route and walking through groups of people. There were college students up in high-rise apartments with Trump signs, but no counter-protestors on the street. - @M_Bumatay
DC March: I talked to police officers to thank them for their service during these protests. They were so generous and kind to everyone marching. - Louisa
What you ate and where you peed (at The Scold, we ask the important questions)
DC March: I ate two clementines and a Luna bar that I brought in my fanny pack. And I wore Depends. (TRUE FACT) (Learned from girlfriends who attended Obama's Inauguration.) (PRICELESS) - Meg
DC March: I ate a granola bar and an energy ball that a woman we met had with her. I did not pee at the march (I peed before at the Silver Spring Civic Center and after at the restaurant we went to. I think it's because I did not stay hydrated as much as I should). - Tina
DC March: after leaving the rally, i went to DCPublic Library for Black Lives Matter multiracial healing space where there was food. i didn't end up needing to pee while out. :-) - Kim
DC March: I peed in a very clean " don john trump' toilet and ate some nuts. I envied a group who brought PB&Js. I wasn't that organized. - Nancy Pearson
NYC March: I am part camel and never needed to pee. I stopped to eat at Pret a Manger and the workers were amazing. - Annie S.
St. Paul March: I ate a protein bar and peed at a friend's house a block away before the march began. - AFP
DC March: Ate at Au Bon Pain because my friend wasn't feeling well and needed to go inside. We peed at the porta potties (Au bon pain said their bathrooms were out of order <yeah right>) The lines for porta potties were ridiculous. But I get that more people were there than expected. - White woman, director of marketing, 39
DC March: I ate salami and crackers all day. An apple, an orange. Some cheese. Water with rehydration mix. I could have used double the amount of water. Peeing! We found a couple port a potties with very short lines, one on the mall and one back at Union Station. Some in our group picked the wrong line. I felt bad. So yeah, in 12 hours we peed twice. - Eleanor
Madison, WI March: We marched down State Street, which is filled with shops. We used restrooms at the UW Union, lunch place, and the Capitol building, all without issue. Since I was with my young daughter, I took advantage of every bathroom stop we could. I was very impressed with the facilities. Public buildings were open and inviting. - Rebecca Wallendall
DC March: I didn't go to the bathroom at all, amazingly. I stashed two granola bars in my purse, paid a guy $5 to buy me a bottle of water so I wouldn't have to wait in line, and ended up waiting in line for an hour at Soul Wingz near Metro Center. The woman working at Soul Wingz kindly ended up giving me free fries, wings, and hush puppies. - Louisa
The road home
DC March: After the march we met the two members of our group who got separated. We all took the metro (they got on close to the Mall and we walked all the way up to Mt. Vernon Square) and went to Republic in Takoma Park. The entire street was filled with people-- all of the restaurants were full and people were sitting on benches outside recounting stories of the march and how they are going to act. It was basically ground zero for pussy hats. - Tina
DC March: I took the Metro to my dad's house in Brookland. - Louisa
DC March: Well, my friend and I walked right over to our car and zipped out of the city. Then, we ate a burger and some fried pickles and drank beers in a sports bar in Reston and kept saying Wow. Wow. Wow. - Nancy Pearson
DC March: i took the 79 bus from Verizon center on home. - Kim
NYC March: I walked home and went to a nice dinner with my family. - Annie S.
DC March: MARC train. Thankfully, they were running trains constantly at that point, which was an on the spot pivot for them when they realized they were at capacity at the first stop on the first train. Then Uber. - Eleanor
DC March: I'd parked the van at the end of the Green Line, so we all made our way to the stop, hit up a Red Lobster (WE HAD NO CHOICE WE WERE IN THE SUBURBS!) and hit the road back to Brooklyn. - Meg
NYC March: I've been working hard for change since before the election, supporting and funding female political candidates and I will continue to do so. - Annie S.
DC March: I'm active with anti-racist groups and will continue with that. I'm active in my Community Association, learning to communicate with my elected officials, and will continue with that. I joined Swing Left, which sends people to advocate for progressive causes in nearby swing districts. Not sure when that becomes active, or if we will be powered up for the election in 2018. I'm looking into whether there are any Indivisible Groups in my area. - Eleanor
DC March: Send postcard and call congress persons. - White woman, director of marketing, 39
DC March: I signed up for the Women's March's ten actions in 100 days. Also, some coworkers and I are going to start our version of Moral Mondays-- what action can we take that week. I've also got my senators' and congressman's telephone number in my phone. I also plan on writing my congressman a thank you note for arranging the buses. - Tina
Madison, WI March: I need to be more vigilant about contacting my legislators. Our GOP senator was just re-elected, and calling his office feels like a brick wall, he doesn't care. I want to get more involved locally and have signed up with some state groups to stay informed. We have a lot of state politics that are wreaking havoc on our communities, especially in Education, which affects me directly since my husband is a teacher. Phone calls and more phone calls. - Rebecca Wallendall
DC March: I plan to keep fighting for my causes. I have pledged to donate $1 for each hateful comment someone makes towards my battle for social justice and equality. As president of my school's young democrats chapter, I want to bring hope back to my community - Louisa
Madison, WI March: I already called Paul Ryan and participated in his poll about Obamacare and I plan to continue to call representatives; volunteer; spread information; and continue donating to Planned Parenthood and other organizations. - @M_Bumatay
DC March: Making calls, sending the postcards that the Women's March is putting out. Probably following their 10 Action Steps plan. - Meg
DC March: keep signing petitions, calling congress people, i've created a fb group for actionable steps. -block confirmation of sessions by calling __________; Stop sec. of education by calling ________; insist on ethics review before confirmation by contacting __________ - Kim
St. Paul March: I am leading some events in the next few weeks that target deconstructing rape culture. I'm also reading Waking Up White, following a Black Lives Matter syllabus and learning all about my politicians and watching for changing legislation. Plan to contact them as necessary when bad legislation arises. - AFP
DC March: Make some important phone calls. Talk my neighbors. Share the experience with my students whom I will see tomorrow in English 101 - Nancy Pearson
Editors’ note: All respondents were identified according to their wishes. Responses were lightly edited for obvious typographical errors. If you responded and don’t see your words here, STAY TUNED! We’ll be running more responses over the next couple weeks. Want to tell us your story? You can still take our survey!
Main photo by Eleanor, Protestors at Union Station