The weekend of Jan. 20 marked the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington in which feminist activists gathered at the nation’s capital, largely in opposition to the newly inaugurated President Donald Trump.
Roused by the perceived policies of the then-incoming administration, women and like-minded men flocked to the streets of Washington, D.C., as well as in sister marches around the country, voicing concern for a variety of topics ranging from “reproductive rights” to immigration and climate change.
One year later, women around the country organized marches once more — but some women were apparently not welcome at every march.
Saturday marked events in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, which all saw hundreds of thousands turn out, while smaller protests were held in D.C., Philadelphia, and Austin, according to The Washington Post.
Despite the variety of concerns expressed by march participants, the recent surge in sexual misconduct allegations against men in positions of power has sparked some women to brave the cold this year. Vanessa Medina, a nurse from Cifton, New Jersey, told The Post that the widely publicized “Times Up” campaign inspired her to travel to New York for the event.
“I’m done with men feeling like they have some sort of power over women, and I’m definitely done with having a president, who believes that he has the power to take things from them, to take things that are provided — like Planned Parenthood — from women, when they deserve the same sort of health care as anybody else,” said Amanda Kowalski, a Los Angeles attendant to The Post.
But the main event this year was on Sunday, when organizers of the official Women’s March organized their “Power to the Polls” event in Las Vegas in opposition to immigration decisions issued by the Trump administration.
“We stand in solidarity with the dreamers and with the senators who are fighting back and saying, they are Americans, too,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, according to The Post.
“People are choosing my life for me right now,” claimed Astrid Silva, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient, according to the newspaper. “You can protect us, every single one of you here.”
Despite the anti-Trump sentiment from some protesters, the president took to Twitter to voice support for the rights of women to march and voice their opinions.
Although there was indeed mass turnout across the country for women’s marches, many activists still elected not to attend the events, apparently in the belief that the needs of minority women are being ignored by the women’s marches.
According to a post on a website purportedly representing The Black Lives Matter movement in Cincinnati, the Women’s March was not welcome to women of color.
“I hope the women who are at this rally are also going to the next black lives matter protest, or marching on behalf of DACA,” said Nadya Agrawal, who attended the March on Washington in 2017 but chose not to go this year, in a statement The Post.
Another cause for division — the pro-life movement.
Notably held the weekend after the 45th annual March for Life, the women’s marches have been criticized for excluding women who consider themselves both feminist and in opposition to abortion.
Pamela Merrit, the co-founder of Reproaction, expressed to The Post that although she understood the attraction of the feminist cause to pro-life women, that the two sides are incompatible, likening being a “pro-life feminist” to a “vegan who likes chicken.”
“It’s just not possible, if you don’t believe that a woman has the right to make decisions about her body and her healthcare and her future,” she said.
Still, others disagreed.
Women who support feminist principles but consider themselves against abortion on the grounds that life begins at conception were notably present at both the March for Life and The Women’s March in D.C. over the weekend. Women interested in bridging the divide between the groups were out on display, carrying signs with the slogan “I am a pro-life feminist.”
“Women are amazing,” said Desiny Herndon Del La Rosa to The Post. The founder of New Wave Feminists added, “We can disagree, and still work together on what we do agree on.”
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