Women’s March on Denver
Gabrielle DeCristofaro • February 11, 2017 • Progression •
The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States has ignited nationwide action directly opposing his ideologies. In November, residents of Denver organized events such as “Denver United for Better Than Trump” and “Denver Unites to Defeat Hate” in response to his election. Shortly after, the Women’s March on Washington, which took place on Jan. 21, was announced. However, this particular event was presented not as a protest or anti-Trump rally, but as a gathering for solidarity against the issues that are either being ignored, contradicted or hindered by not only rhetoric, but now, legislation.
The event was intended to take place in Washington DC, yet it quickly spread internationally, with demonstrations occurring on all seven continents. According to the Denver Post the Women’s March on Denver brought out an estimated 100,000 people of all ages, races and genders. Even more astounding, an ongoing count by Jeremy Pressman, Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, and Erica Chenoweth, Professor and Dean for Research at the University of Denver, shows an estimated 3.4 million to 4.9 million protestors at over 600 gatherings worldwide.
The Denver Women’s March was filled with camaraderie. Sights and sounds of a communal event blared from Capitol Hill to Civic Center Park. Marching bands, balloons and chants were all in accordance with the traditional parade atmosphere. All assumptions of a “protest” were immediately thrown out the window. However, the characteristics of opposition remained, along with the undeniable evidence of peculiar juxtaposition. Girl Scouts in Denver, probably no older than 10, chanted “My body, my choice!” Quite a contradiction, considering the same organization marched in Washington DC’s Inaugural Parade. The playing of Aretha Franklin’s classic anthem “Respect” was also a notable moment. Not only has Trump consistently shown disrespect for women, but Franklin’s stunning performance at Obama’s Inauguration made for an unforgettable declaration of our former president’s character. Trump got Jackie Evancho, if that says anything to you.
A day full of heartfelt speeches began around 11:30 a.m. at the amphitheater in Civic Center Park as the 9:30 a.m. parade continued. Over 30 speakers, dancers, musicians, poets, professors, politicians, healthcare professionals, lawyers, and world-renowned athletes, from all walks of life, ages and ethnicities, gave credence to the power of a diverse, strong, pro-action presence. Their messages were clear: Start the fight. Continue the fight. Let this be the beginning. Do not lose your fire.
While the Women’s March was, for the most part, a rally for issues like reproductive rights, health care, funding for Planned Parenthood, and equal wages, attention was called to other issues such as the environment, human rights, and vote tampering. Speakers called on the protesters to look at culture as it pertains to gender roles, stereotypes, and all of the limitations inherent with the in-group dilemma. They asked us to see these realities and find ways of working together to break the molds created by nationalism and secularism. Trump was even presented as a magnifying glass for understanding the danger of ideologies that are detrimental to society such as the normalization of sexual assault, or the abuse of power found in corporatized hierarchies. Because really they’re all intertwined and they’re all relevant hotspots in the politics of American culture.
Despite the more hostile protests occurring on Inauguration Day in DC, which lead to rioting, arrests and the use of tear gas in the Capital for the first time in 10 years, the Women’s March became the largest protest in history and concluded on a note of peaceful demonstration. According to the Associated Press, “not a single arrest was reported” in DC. In Denver, there was minimal police presence (However, the crowd size may have just dwarfed the number of police that were there). The officers on site were busy making sure traffic didn’t obstruct the march.
RTD even added extra buses to numerous routes, making it easier for people throughout the state to participate. The universal support and awareness found in Denver lends to the testament that Coloradans understand the importance of demonstrations like the Women’s March.
There was one distinct difference between the Women’s March and most others: an inclusiveness that encouraged equality to grow freely. The date was announced far enough in advance to make for a well-planned and accessible event. Even more encouraging, a significant number of men were involved, showing support for the women of our nation. One sign read: “A man of quality doesn’t fear equality”. When we build each other up, everyone wins.
Of course, it wasn’t exclusively an event to empower women. The inescapable awareness of Trump’s presidency was deeply integrated into many of the posters, chants and speeches throughout the day. His poor policy design, lack of real planning and disregard for public decency (like the Golden Shower incident) has many questioning, what will he do next? An answer to that was given, as one person shouted: “Tiny hands! Tiny feet! All Trump does is Tweet, Tweet, Tweet!”
The event was sparked in DC and has spread throughout the world. It has been powerful and visible. The coverage went global and the awareness is undeniably poignant. While the Women’s March primarily focused on women’s issues, complimentary protests have sparked throughout the country. Spontaneous demonstrations like those at DIA in response to the “Muslim Ban” are gaining momentum. Others like the forthcoming protest on April 15 for Tax Day, are being organized in response to Trump not releasing his tax returns. The overall response has proven that the American people are prepared to voice their opinions and fight the injustices affecting so many of our brothers and sisters across the world.