Before going to the women’s march, one of my peers started questioning me on why I was attending, why the march was even happening and if I thought it would actually make a difference. I was shocked at the questions, but was even more shocked that I could not think of a good answer. I knew, obviously, that this year’s march was continuing the tradition from women filling cities last year, the day after Trump’s inauguration, to demand respect from an aggressively racist, anti-feminist and generally unaccepting president. And I knew that there was a common theme of female empowerment, standing in solidarity with sisters and encouraging citizens to vote. But it wasn’t until I arrived at the march, saw the masses, the signs and felt the overwhelming presence of love, acceptance and hope that I understood why the women’s march is important.
All these people — women, men, children, elderly and everyone in between — infiltrated the streets of Los Angeles because they still cared. They cared about the state of our nation, about the dreamers, about the men and women who could say “me too” and “time’s up,” about a woman’s right to choose, about racial injustices, about members of the LGBTQ community, about women being treated equally, about acceptance, about love and kindness. They cared about every single person in the United States who had faced turmoil or discrimination or hatred following the inauguration of Trump.
Before the actual march began, many speakers came to share their stories and talk about their causes. There were women who served in the US government encouraging everyone to take to the polls during midterm elections. There were speakers who advocated for planned parenthood, the rights LGBTQ individuals and people of color and the lives of immigrant youth. Standing in the crowd, surrounded by thousands of passionate individuals, I was suddenly very aware that hope for the fate of our country was not lost, but very much alive. Chants filled the air, proclaiming, “This is what democracy looks like,” and demanding, “Pay us more, grope us less.” I witnessed the solidarity and encouragement extended between strangers, simply because we all shared the same cause, I felt tears fill my eyes and I knew it was due to the presence of love.
It’s difficult to put into words the spectacular energy I felt at the march, so hopefully you can get a glimpse of the experience from these photos.
Photos contributed by Redlands Bulldog reporter and photographer Sarah Hall.