2018 Philly Women’s March
Along with tens of thousands of other Activists across the country, I attended my local Women’s March on Saturday, January 20, 2018. Women, men, and children from all walks of life were there, donning their pink, “pussy” hats, while exercising their first amendment rights.
They came using canes. They came riding in strollers. They came carrying vibrant signs loaded with phrases like, “I’m With Her,” “Sanctuary Everywhere,” “Old White Woman Standing With Black Lives Matter,” “Immigration Gave Me A Family,” and “Tweet Women With Respect.” They came together for a variety of human rights causes: LGBTQIA rights, Women’s rights, Dreamers, Science, Environment, and because they are fed up with the current Whitehouse administration. Whatever reason drove them to protest. They are united under a banner of hopeful resistance that challenges the Trump Establishment in Washington, D.C., and their attack on our basic American values.
One veteran I spoke with said, “I’m here to remind Congress that I served our country, now it’s their turn. Impeach or go home.” A Millennial said she was marching to support the transgender community in our city. She also informed me that over 28 transgender people were killed last year in the United States.
As we marched along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we chanted, “Show me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like,” and “No hate, no fear. Everyone is welcome here.” I could not help but feel emboldened by the venue the organizers of the march had chosen.
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the hub of art and culture in Philadelphia. It was lined with flags from all over the world; a poignant reminder that immigrants from every nation have made their home in America. The Franklin Institute, seen from the Parkway, was opened in honor of one of America’s most influential scientists and civic activists, Benjamin Franklin. How appropriate, we marched past the perfect homage to science and the facts we desperately need to save our planet.
Despite Trump’s best efforts to convince us he is a capable leader, the momentum to challenge Trump’s bigotry and ignorance have strengthened since his election in 2016. Many Americans are tired of being embarrassed on the world stage. We’re tired of watching our reputations being destroyed. We want our country back. If the women I heard speaking on Saturday is any indication, we are in for a tidal wave of female politicians who are determined to do just that.
Rebecca Rhynhart, Philadelphia’s first ever-female City Controller, spoke to the crowd about the need for more women to run for public office. She also reminded us that Philadelphia has never had a woman mayor or a woman governor.
Many other women took to the stage to speak to us about the changes to the political climate since the first Women’s March in 2017. Women are taking control. Women are organizing. “Resist, Persist, Rise,” was the mantra recited at the end of each speech given.
Although we have a long way to go, like so many, I feel we are on the right path to ensuring everyone is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. Political dissent is the hallmark of social and historical change in America. We are just experiencing the next chapter that will bring us closer to the vision that is the United States of America.