On January 21, 2017, over half a million men and women filled the streets of downtown Washington DC as for the Women’s March on Washington, one of the largest protests in US history. Held on the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, the aim of the march was to demonstrate opposition to the social circumstances leading to his presidency and to show strong support for legislation and policies that protect human rights (women’s rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, gender and racial equality, and worker rights), immigration reform, healthcare reform, and environmental protection. An estimated 5 million people worldwide attended “sister marches” in cities across the globe, including here in New Orleans. The marches were peaceful events, and of the combined 2 million people who participated in the DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle marches, there was not a single arrest.
It was a privilege to be in Washington and march in solidarity with so many thousands of people for issues that impact the health of women, children, and families all over the country. Despite the gloom of overcast skies, the overwhelmingly positive and invigorating energy of the crowd is a feeling I will never forget. With the extreme legislative measures already taken in the new administration’s first few days, it is my hope that the march was not a culmination but rather the beginning of a powerful movement of joint activism to uphold values of inclusion, respect, equity, and justice, and to protect the rights and freedoms that all people in this country deserve.
Maeve Wallace, Ph.D., pictured above, authored this editorial, and works as an Assistant Research Professor at MAC