On the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration and just hours after a government shutdown, thousands of women, men, and children participated in the second Women’s March.
The air was crisp and the sky clear as thousands of boots shifted over the soupy grass of Cambridge Common, overflowing onto the sidewalk. Unable to find space, a few sat perched in a tree.
Pink hats stood out in the crowd like spots, and brightly colored signs waved in the air. A girl sat on her father’s shoulders waving a poster reading “Girl Power.” A couple held up a piece of cardboard reading “First, We Marched, Now We Run.” Another sign bore the face of a lion and the words, “You Tweet We Roar.”
Organized within five weeks by the January Coalition, a group of grassroots activist organizations throughout Boston committed to social justice and women’s rights, the theme of the march was “People Persist.”
After Women’s Marches swept the country last January, there was speculation as to whether the protests would amount to anything or simply become background noise.
But with the #MeToo movement that began in October and the Times Up movement that recently dominated the Golden Globes, it has become clear—women have a powerful voice that demands to be heard.
Among the nearly 10,000 protesters who showed up in Cambridge Saturday were Boston College students. While turnout was significantly smaller than last year—when more than 275,000 flooded Boston Common—spirit was high and marchers remained as determined as ever.
“I was just really inspired to be there and to see so many people out there to support women’s rights,” said Grace Villeneuve, CSON ’20. “And not just women, but men too.”
Speakers reminded protestors of the importance of becoming actively involved in politics and of being changemakers in their communities.
Wearing a black shirt with block text reading “The Future is Female,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy gazed out at the crowd surrounding her.
“A year ago I stood with many of you in the Boston Common with a message for Trump: We’ll see you in court,” she said.
“Now when I said that, I had no idea it would be so often or so soon,” added Healy. “We have power, we have a voice, and we’re going to use it.
Marjorie C. Decker, the State Representative of Cambridge, reminded protestors of the importance of supporting local and state government, a major theme of the march.
She urged protestors to call their representatives, write letters, join organizations—do anything to become actively involved in the fight for equality.
“This is our moment. This is the moment where we stand together,” Decker said.
“I am not deterred, I am determined. I am not tired, I’m fired up,” she said.
Senator Elizabeth Warren was unable to attend the march, but had a message for protesters that was read aloud by a volunteer from the January Coalition.
In the statement Warren said, “The world changed the day that Donald Trump was sworn in as president, but the world changed again the day after, the day that women in Massachusetts and women all across the country became an army.”
Warren echoed the speakers that afternoon, saying, “Democracy isn’t something we can only care about every four years. We all have a job to do.”
As marchers began to disperse, it became clear that the day had been as much a protest as a celebration of the accomplishments made over the past year. A record number of women are running for office in 2018, and marchers are determined to make sure that this record does not last for long.
As marchers flocked to nearby restaurants for a late lunch in Cambridge, music filled the air, and strangers exchanged compliments on creative poster ideas.
Across the street from the Curious George Store, standing on top of two speakers, a woman dressed in rainbow led an impromptu dance party to Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”
“I left the march feeling hopeful for the future,” said Charlotte Berman, MCAS ’20. “I don’t know what it was, maybe it was seeing that lady dancing. But it was nice.”
Featured Image by Isabel Fenoglio / Heights Editor