Hope these snapshots give readers a sense of the diversity and love on display at the Women’s March in Philadelphia today. We had girl power, unicorn power, and even Rodin’s thinker weighed in. Vive la resistance!
I got the bus for a 5:00 am start from New Jersey to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., a gathering of hundreds of thousands – “Who are we? We’re the popular vote!” – on the Mall. We were ready to show and tell the reasons #WhyIMarch. Some warned to “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance”. Some reminded us that “Environmental Rights Are Women’s Rights and Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”. As Beth observed, they stood up for Islamic and LGBTI communities. They asserted “My Body – My Choice”. There were lots of women – and lots of men (who counter-chanted “Her Body – Her Choice”).
There were so many of us that we filled the march route and took to other streets so that we could walk.
Updated #s from @dr_pete
Los Angeles: 750K
Washington, DC: 500K
New York: 150K+
Over and over, as we headed back to the bus for home, strangers smiled, nodded, acknowledged each other and said words to the effect “It was a great day. I’m glad I came. We can’t stop here. We have to keep working on this.”
Wow. What an experience.
Like Diane, I am not much of a marcher. I respect and support direct action, but—as an academic—my contributions to social change tend to involve disseminating the written word more than chanting in the streets.
But this was an event to remember. I am so thrilled that I was able to be here in Washington, D.C. (having flown from California in a plane FULL of women) with my mom, sister, daughter, and a number of students and friends from all stages of my life. Thanks to our cell phones (and notwithstanding the overwhelmed cell towers), we were miraculously able to connect at random points along the way.
The Rally and March offered a beautiful display of American diversity—all ages, races, orientations, and genders were represented. There were families with children everywhere—marching, chanting, frolicking, and sharing their own messages (“Grown-ups: WTF??” & “I Am 8 Years Old & I Have Better Manners & Fewer Tantrums”). Although this was billed as “The Woman’s March,” thousands and thousands of supportive men were in attendance, all advocating for women’s rights and inclusiveness (“Men of Quality Do Not Fear Equality”).
Although there were incredible speakers and performers (including Gloria Steinem, Michael Moore, Ashley Judd, and Madonna), this was really about building community and solidarity in the streets. The roar of the crowds was incredible—and deafening—at times.
As usual, the ubiquitous hand-made signs, all emphasizing social justice themes and the power of resistance, were a highlight. They were full of creative double entendres (“Electile dysfunction”) and clever puns (“Donald Dump” (with poop emoji) – “Trump Puts The ‘Twit’ in Twitter” & “We Shall Overcomb”). Even Trump’s bizarre appearance did not escape reference (“Orange is the New Blech”).
The messages were pro-immigrant (“To All Immigrants: Thanks for Choosing America”), pro-diversity, pro-social justice, pro-human rights (“Women Just Want to Have FUNdamental Rights”) and pro-reproductive rights. Indeed, I’ve never seen so many unique renderings of the female uterus in one place (“Shed Walls, Don’t Build Them”).
Not surprisingly, Trump’s unbridled misogyny and sordid history of sexual assault offered frequent themes (“No Sex Offenders in Public Housing” (with a picture of the White House)). The pussy references were legion, even over and above the seas of pink knitted hats thanks to the Pussyhat Project. I was thrilled to wear one knitted for me by one of my students.
Much of the anger was directed toward Trump (“Dump Trump”), but Mike Pence did not escape the crowd’s ire (“Pence Sucks Too”), particularly as we all marched past the EEOB where the Vice President has his office. There were also plenty of references to Russia’s intervention in the election (“Nyet my President”) and images of Trump as Putin’s puppet or crybaby (“Make Daddy Vladimir Proud”). Trump’s campaign slogans and vile comments were all turned inside out (“Make America Kind Again” – “Build a Wall Around Trump & We’ll Pay For It” – “Hate Does Not Make America Great” & “You Haven’t Seen Nasty Yet”). Even Melania received some attention (“Free Melania” & “Melania, Blink Twice if You Need Help”).
Everyone was peaceful and loving. Notwithstanding the finality of yesterday’s inauguration, people were upbeat, strategizing for the coming resistance, and exchanging random acts of kindness, even in hot, crowded metro stops and the throngs on the streets. We saw two people wearing “Trump” hats, but otherwise this was a crowd full of Hillary Clinton supporters (“Still With Her”).
In fact, there were so many references to Hillary that it was as if this were her inauguration celebration. It should have been (“The People’s President: She Got 2,864,974 More Votes”).
This morning under sunny skies in Sydney, Australia, I joined thousands of women, men and children in solidarity with our sisters in the US to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump. Concerned about what the Trump Presidency will mean for the protection of women’s rights, and those of non-whites and LGBTIQ communities in the US, in Australia and across the globe, the large crowd joined in a rally against ‘anti-hatred, anti-bigotry and anti-misogyny’ then marched through the city centre. We called for respect for human rights everywhere, women’s freedom, protection for refugees and asylum seekers and the need for greater accountability in politics. As we gathered, we recognised the importance of the right to assembly and peaceful protest and the urgent need to protect these rights in the context of current worldwide political events. Wishing success to the protests everywhere today. The resistance has begun!
I stayed home when millions protested the invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Stayed home for “No Blood for Oil” too (though I did have the T-shirt, at left). Avoided the streets of my Paris sabbatical home on May Day 2002, when half a million marched to the chants of “Là-Bas Le Pen.”
Pretty much avoided all public demonstrations since childhood, never having really seen the point of taking to the streets instead of concrete action – that is, instead of litigating/teaching/reasoning/writing/policymaking toward lasting solutions.
So why march today?
► Because the promise of the election of Barack Obama – hands down, the best President of my lifetime – so soon was dashed by never-believed yet oft-repeated undercuttings of his citizenship. The spurious claims and the events that ensued sunk the hope that had lifted many of us in 2007 and 2008. Fell particularly hard on those of us who are immigrants, or who count immigrants among our loved ones.
► Because in the last years we’ve been forced to swallow bile: cruel falsehoods about the 1st woman to be nominated by a major U.S. political party; harsh slaps against everyone who has endured sexual assault; soulless insults about every disadvantaged group imaginable.
► Because Looking-Glass intrigue belongs to the fantasy world of Lewis Carroll, not to the real world in which we all must live.
► Because aspirations to human dignity, equality, liberty, and justice, without borders, will not withstand anti-“globalist” attack unless those of us who hold these values dear come to their defense.
► Because if we fail to object, we fail our children.
To quote other ‘Grrls:
“It seems like a day when numbers matter.”
“I couldn’t not go.”
We awoke this morning deluged with news of the inauguration, impossible to avoid and perhaps even harder to comprehend. For many of us, a feeling of nausea mounting since November has given way this morning to full-blown morning sickness, but without any bundle of joy at the end of it. As I grapple to deal with the impending apocalypse, I try to remind myself of my dear friend and IntLawGrrl Beth Van Schaack’s framing — that this is day one of the resistance, not the apocalypse.
Here at IntLawGrrls we will begin this resistance by bringing you thoughts and images from women protesting the inauguration of he-who-shall-not-be-named, both today and tomorrow at the Women’s March on DC and around the country, and hopefully around the world. In contrast to the joyful posts surrounding the 2008 US Presidential election, this is a dark dawn, but one that we will not take sitting down.
I am reminded this morning of an NY Times op-ed, from December, by Australian doctor Lisa Pryor, Dear America, Why Did You Let Us Down? Pryor laments the loss of America’s “poetry of democracy that was grand and uplifting.” I want to say to her and others around the world who mourn that loss that this beautiful, diverse, and democratic America is still here. Indeed, most Americans voted for Hillary Clinton. And from the inside, America has never looked like a shining picture of democracy, but rather a place of ongoing contestation and struggle to promote ideals of equality and justice. Those of us who believe dearly in those ideals are still here, and we will fight, day in and day out, to protect that beautiful dream.
In Philadelphia alone, I know of three inauguration events today focused on immigration: a panel discussion at Temple University on sanctuary campuses; an open house at Puentes de Salud, an organization providing health care for immigrants, at which lawyers from Friends of Farmworkers will be available to answer questions relating to immigration status; and a protest at the Liberty Bell, the birthplace of our democracy, organized by the New Sanctuary Movement and other immigrant community groups. This is just a small snapshot of the beginning of the resistance.
What does that mean for our international sisters? We ask you to raise your voices with ours, and stand in solidarity with us. It’s a bleak forecast in terms of state-based international law for the next four years. Many of us in the United States are turning to municipalities and local governments to uphold fundamental rights, and we will seek transnational connections at the substate level. You can leverage international law on our behalf, making arguments based on law, policy, and deeper morality about the actions and stances of the new administration. I still remember how heartening it was to see the number of Iraq war protests around the world as we marched in New York City in 2003. Most importantly of all, don’t give up hope for the future of America. We haven’t, and we are counting on your support to get us through the next four years to a brighter dawn.
President Elect Donald Trump’s only tweet in the last seven hours (as of about 3pm EST, Jan 19th), is the relatively inoffensive, “Getting ready to leave for Washington, D.C. The journey begins and I will be working and fighting very hard to make it a great journey for..the American people. I have no doubt that we will, together, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
This restraint is remarkable, given what the citizenry has grown to expect. The legal issues raised by Donald Trump and his incoming administration are almost too many to enumerate, so we can be glad at least for this slight pause in his output.
Let’s take stock briefly.