50,000 Women Protest Trump
The Women's March reaches history proportions with 50,000 in attendance.
Early Saturday morning, 50,000 people gathered at Ben Franklin Parkway for the Women’s March in Philadelphia. A part of an international movement, the march was planned in an effort to organize resistance against the Trump administration for rights that many protesters feel they will lose during his term.
Speculated to be one of the few movements that brought several disjointed social justice movements together, the large crowd represented diverse interests including comprehensive immigration reform and #BlackLivesMatter.
The organizers of the protest planned the march in 9 weeks following the election in conjunction with the sister marches in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
“I work in politics and I've organized for 16 years, and I'm from Philly. I had originally planned to go down to D.C. But the state organizer, Marie Zallick Nordic got me in touch with Emily Norris who had never organized in her life...and with the non-profit and through several small donations we raised $60,000 to make today happen - in fact our average donation was $25” Mariel J. K. Martin, one of the protest organizers stated.
“It was great because we knew we wanted it, but with the donations and feedback we got we realized they wanted it to,” she said.
With over 50,000 people protesting in Philadelphia and more than 100,000 in New York and DC respectively, a total of over 250,000 people were marching in those three cities alone. With several small marches spanning the United States, 3.7 million protested nationally, one of the largest protest turnouts in history.
“So initially I was going to go to the DC march actually, but I live in Philly and I thought it was important that Philadelphians, show their support for the nationwide march. I think a lot of us are angry and energized following the outcome of the election and it’s as much about being against what the Trump administration represents as it is being pro our particular issues,” Rachel Valletta, a protester from the area stated.
The local protests in Philadelphia gave a chance for those unable to travel to the larger marches to the north and south of the city to show their support and solidarity for their causes.
Mayor Kenney spoke about the importance of the march, especially with the pushback the city has received for some of its current policies, including status as a 4th amendment city.
“I think I have a responsibility as Mayor in a city that’s under siege by the administration I think it’s important to tell people we’re all in this together. And we’re not walking back...we’re not walking back on sanctuary cities, we’re not walking back on LGBT rights or civil rights - we’re just not doing it. And we’ll go down if we have to go down,” Mayor Kenney stated.
The push back the city has received has included cuts in federal funding due to Philadelphia’s policies on interacting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
“My mother comes from Venezuela. She moved here and found phenomenal opportunity - she fell in love with the country. And it’s unfair to see that we’ve gone a bit backwards where, at first the American citizens were willing to work with immigrants and willing to work with them and willing to accept them. And now, it just seems like it’s becoming very difficult for immigrants, expats that come here to fit into the culture and into the country. And also as a female, as a Latina, there’s no way I could miss this, I have to fight for the rights I believe we may lose.” Marisa Velazquez, a protestor at the march shared.
In terms of moving forward, many of the protesters have expressed little idea of what their plans are for the future. Without a specific organization to guide their methods of resistance many are improvising along the way.
“Many of us are here chanting for Planned Parenthood, for queer rights. I think it’s as much a healing process as it can be an energizing space for moving forward, one of the speakers said, ‘Can we take this forward and turn it into a movement?’ And I think maybe we’re on the precipice of that and I’m exciting to move forward.” Rachel Velleta, a protester stated.
The CEO of Planned Parenthood for Southeastern Pennsylvania, Dayle Steinberg had suggestions for many looking to get involved.
“Reproductive rights are under attack. There’s no denying that. And this hits people where they live. Planned Parenthood is here for millions of women, men, and young people across the country and we provide affordable, quality healthcare. Americans understand that. Without us, they would have nowhere else to go. But it’s also what we symbolize. We symbolize not just reproductive rights, but human rights, civil rights, and an attack us is an attack against all women,” Steinberg stated.
Planned Parenthood has come to face the threat of losing funding as it has continued to be an issue as the administration urges forward. Especially with a recent executive order signed by President Trump, called the Mexico City policy, which prohibits giving international governmental organizations funding if their services include abortion, whether U.S. dollars fund the abortions or not. Similar legislation has been slated to attack Planned Parenthood and Steinberg urges community members to get involved going forward.
“I encourage everyone to start donating to their local Planned Parenthood with monthly donations, volunteer, get involved with your local non-profits you believe in,” Steinberg stated.