Street Beat: Historic Women’s March draws millions at events across the globe

(Photo Credit: Jonathan Eyler-Werve via Flickr Creative Commons)

In a coordinated series of demonstrations Saturday, millions of people took to the streets Saturday as part of a worldwide Women’s March. From small towns in Alaska to major metropolitan areas around the country and the world, protesters turned out in solidarity with the massive march in Washington D.C. Estimates compiled by university researchers range from more than 3 million to nearly 5 million people took part in the day of action; organizers put the total at more than 5 million.

The total number notwithstanding – the turnout was massive. With a progressive and inclusive platform focused on workers’ rights, reproductive rights, immigrants rights, environmental justice and more, women responded to the call – as did their allies – to send a strong message that “women’s rights are human rights.”

FSRN reporters fanned out and attended multiple marches: Seán Kinane talked to people at the St. Petersburg, Florida march, Joe Crawford spoke with attendees Indianapolis, Indiana, Andrew Stelzer was in Oakland, California and Tanya Castle covered the march in Montreal, Canada.

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Judith Le Blanc, Washington, D.C.: “My name is Judith Le Blanc and I’m a proud member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma, and the Director of the Native Organizer’s Alliance. I march for my daughter Jenna, my nieces Nora, Marie and Victoria. We march today for Mother Earth, because water is life. Standing Rock has shown the world, our faith, our prayers, people power is stronger than rubber bullets.”

Senator Tammy Duckworth, Washington, D.C.: “Hey everyone, I’m Senator Tammy Duckworth. You guys look great! By the way, I wore my ‘Don’t F With Me’ jacket to this rally, because this is full of a bunch of people who are saying the same thing. You know, yesterday, I got to tell you, I was pretty depressed, and I looked at my baby girl – I brought my daughter here today because this is her first protest, she’s two-years-old. Exactly! To all the girls and boys out there, thanks for coming out, this is about our country. I didn’t shed blood to defend this nation. I didn’t give up, literally, parts of my body, to have the Constitution trampled on. I did not serve along with the men and women in our Armed Forces – we did not serve to protect the Constitution to have them roll back our rights, and this is what it’s about. It’s about you going home, after today, and standing up and fighting in your communities. Don’t take what you do today and don’t let it end. Take it home. Run for office yourself. Get out there and be those voices, be that change that you want to see in the world. They’re not going to roll back the Americans With Disabilities Act, because without the ADA, I would not be here today!”

Tiffany Horton, Florida: “I’m Tiffany Horton and I live in Plant City, Florida. I believe in equal rights for women and I want my daughter to know that we are equal and we shouldn’t even be fighting this fight – we should already have equal rights.”

Rick Kriseman, Florida: “My name is Rick Kriseman, I’m the mayor of the great city of St. Petersburg, Florida. I’m here to stand with thousands of people that are really wanting to speak with a loud voice and say that women’s rights matter, that this is a city of opportunity where the sun shines on all, we want the country to be the same way. This is, I think, everybody really coming together and saying “we’re going to be watching what’s happening and the country is paying attention and these are important issues to all of us. I’m just overwhelmed by this turnout.”

Maqube Reese, Indiana: “My name is Maqube Reese, I’m originally from Fort Wayne and I live and work in Bloomington. What brings me here today is the fact that I’m African-American, so my ancestors marched. And I’m also a women, so my other ancestors – my sisters – as far as women, we need equality. I wanted to come down and partake, not just because I’m a female but because we possess so much community with working together. I feel like I’m liberated when I’m here together with my sisters and brothers, and I think that we can create the change that we want to see. So this my step. I am advocating for women’s rights. I think a lot of people were hesitant to vote in a woman as a presidential hopeful, and I think that demonstrated that we have a lot of work out. I think now is the time to see that women are just as strong, vocal and as much for the people, too.”

Elaine Bander, Montreal, Canada: “My name is Elaine Bander. I’m actually a dual citizen, I spent my first 17 years in the U.S. and although I’m a very proud and grateful Canadian, it breaks my heart to see what’s happening there. My philosophy has always been you protest when you can, while you can, because God knows it soon may become illegal in Trump’s America.”

Anita Gale Jones, California: “My name is Anita Gale Jones. I live in Novato, Marin County. I’m just in shock that this is even happening. It’s just a visceral disbelief that the man is actually in the White House and that half the country thought he should be there. He’s there – he road his way to power on a lie, the birther lie. You just look at the basics and it’s really about race. Nobody wants to talk about that, nobody wants to really admit that. But at the core, this is about race. It’s about having a black man in the White House for eight years.”

Laurel Swartzback, California: “My name is Laurel Swartzback. I’m from Placerville, California. Everything that I care about is being threatened right now. A huge concern is the environment and the denial of climate change. Also, having a president that is disrespectful of so many human rights – women’s rights, disabled people’s rights, gay, transgender, lesbian rights. Every kind of right that I can think of. It’s not acceptable.”

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