Meanwhile, over in D.C.
Sacramento woman flies to Washington, D.C., to take part in the historic Women’s March against Trump
As California's newly elected Sen. Kamala Harris spoke over a sea of pink “pussy” hats, feminist placards and a half-million women, men and children blanketing Washington, D.C.'s Independence Avenue on Saturday, January 21, Sacramento resident Dylan Moore stood in awe.
Moore, 21, had cast her first Senate vote ever for Harris last fall. And while the presidential race didn’t go the way she’d hoped, that day she was witness to democracy in action.
“I thought it was incredible,” Moore said. “We had just totally overwhelmed all of the expectations.”
Women’s March organizers originally anticipated a turnout of around 200,000 protesters, but almost 2.5 times that estimate showed up. The crowd was so large that it filled up the entire planned route of the day’s march.
The D.C. Metro system reported over a million rail trips that day, second in history only to former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration and far outpacing President Donald Trump’s inauguration the day before.
In 2005, Trump was recorded on audio bragging about sexually assaulting women. He’s faced sexual misconduct allegations from some 20 alleged victims, including an account of rape given by his ex-wife Ivana (which she later clarified as not rape in a “literal or criminal sense”). His policies pose a grave threat to women’s health issues, and he consistently makes grossly misogynist comments.
So when Trump shocked the nation last November by beating Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, Moore connected with her Baltimore-based cousin and two aunts and decided to join the Women’s March scheduled the day after his inauguration.
In what proved to be an historic show of defiance and solidarity, half a million people packed Independence Avenue that chilly, overcast Saturday morning with chants of “Yes We Can” and “United we stand against these tiny hands.” America Ferrera, Van Jones and Ashley Judd delivered impassioned speeches. Janelle Monae gave a spirited musical performance dedicated to Black Lives Matter while protesters sporting pink, pointed hats and cardboard signs danced along.
“I think my favorite aspect was the signs,” Moore said. “I thought they were an incredible ode to female wit.”
The signs varied from protest favorites like “Girls just want to have fun-damental rights” to the more unique and sometimes risque, such as “Think outside my box” and “Women are the wall and Trump will pay.”
One sign that particularly resonated with Moore was in a photo from a sister rally that Saturday. In it, a woman of color held a placard reading, “I’ll see you nice white ladies at the next #BlackLivesMatter march, right?”
“I think that’s a good call to action for white women,” Moore said.
The first march Moore ever attended was a Black Lives Matter rally in Oakland. She believes in a more intersectional approach to women’s issues, and felt that the Women’s March was an opportunity to introduce some of the old-school feminists to issues facing women of color, immigrants and trans women that they may not have focused on before.
Intersectionality was a problem for the march from day one. The organizers, all white women, had originally named the event the “Million Woman March”—not realizing that black women had held a march with that name in Philadelphia 20 years before.
Once alerted of the problem, organizers changed the name to the Women’s March and recruited women of color into leadership roles. The final roll of speakers and performers included representatives of LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter and immigrant rights communities. Despite these changes, concerns remained in marginalized communities, resulting in a march overrepresented by white women.
Still, the numbers were strong. Recent reports estimate that women’s marches throughout the country may have included more than 4 million protesters—that’s over one in 100 U.S. citizens—the largest organized demonstration in the nation’s history.
As Moore prepared to return to Sacramento, she spoke of the work ahead. Organizers talked about a 10-point action plan in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. Alongside that, Moore talked about joining voter registration efforts and tutoring inmates in the Sacramento region.
“I think it’s a precedent that we are going to be working together as an entire gender and say enough is enough,” she said. “It’s an important baseline.”