Wearing a Denver Broncos sweatshirt, Teresa Long marched last weekend with Denise, her spouse of 17 years.
“I feel like our country’s become a place where women and people of all colors and cultures need to come together and stand up for what’s right,” she said.
She was one of a city-estimated 10,000 people who attended the Reno women’s march. If that figure is correct, it was likely the largest demonstration in the area’s history. People we contacted who participated in protests back to Vietnam said 3,000 was about the largest previous political crowd they could recall.
“Assuming the 10k estimate and the combined population of Washoe and Storey counties being 420k (2013), that means over 2 percent of the region attended this event,” one reader wrote on the website of the Reno Gazette-Journal, which ran its report on the march inside.
However, the march brought people from more than Washoe and Storey. Liz Strekel traveled up from Carson City.
“I feel very passionately about the issues,” she said. “I have a great fear for the potential of what could happen with the new president and the new cabinet.”
She said she doesn’t bring the same negative feelings to her activism that some people do, but that she worries about the competence of the Trump cabinet. She’s new to protests, and she’s not certain what form, if any, her activism will take. There is an upcoming mixer to put the marchers together with organizations that need volunteers, and she may attend that.
“I’m taking a kind of wait-and-see attitude,” she said. “I’ve never been a very political person. It’s never been on my radar.”
Because she lives in the capital, she has given some thought to monitoring things in the legislature this year for some group.
She is far from the only person who is uncertain about what’s next. One of the reasons the march was so large is likely that it pulled people who have not previously been involved in activism. This was not an event of the usual suspects.
What began as a plan for one big march in the District of Columbia became hundreds of marches. The local marches grew past anyone’s ability to keep track of their number. There were in excess of 600, including marches in Reno and Las Vegas. In addition, an event at King’s Beach pulled people from various Sierra communities like Truckee. There was also a march at Stateline that began in Nevada and ended in California.
But concern about the new president did not stop at the water’s edge. From Trafalgar Square in London to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, from New South Wales to Barcelona—all in countries that are U.S. allies—marches attracted huge crowds.
While they were women’s marches, they were laced with men. One man in Reno carried a sign reading “I’M WITH HER” surrounded by arrows pointing in all directions around him. The same placard was also seen in a march in Bordeaux in southwest France.
Other signs read, “REBELLIONS ARE BUILT ON HOPE.” “STAY NASTY.” “FIGHT LIKE A GIRL” (that one surrounded by images of Princess Leia in combat gear). “NOPE.” “HE’S NOT MY PRESIDENT.” “TYRANTS ALWAYS FALL.” “SILENCE IS COMPLICITY.” There was a certain amount of strong language: “NOT THIS PUSSY.” “THOSE OF US WITH OVARIES NEED A PRESS WITH BALLS.”
One popular chant was “Love, not hate, makes America great.”
The route of the march ran only a few blocks, from Liberty Street to the former Mapes Hotel site. At one point, the route itself was wall to wall people from one end to the other.