A sea of pink hats and posters greeted Yalies as they poured out of charter buses and cars in Washington D.C. on January 21—and that was just the line for the Metro. As students made their way to the National Mall, the crowd of people assembling for the Women’s March on Washington steadily swelled. At each intersection, streams of pussy-hatted protesters joined the crowd from all directions, marching toward the Capitol less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump was inaugurated on its steps.
Far from Independence Avenue, in cities and towns from Stockholm, Sweden to Jonesborough, Tennessee, Yale students joined a series of sister marches expressing solidarity with each other and their displeasure with the new president on his first day. Chants for justice and equality rang to the tune of over three million protesters worldwide. Photos from each march are strikingly similar: pink hats and loud posters overwhelm jam-packed streets. Though the pictures are from marches across the globe, without distinctive landmarks you’d be hard-pressed to tell which march they came from. Their messages were the same: support women, dump Trump.
Victoria Hewlett ‘19, who attended the Women’s March in Jonesborough, Tennessee, said that it was one of the largest activist gatherings she had ever seen in her region.
“While I’ve been to many activist rallies in the Tri-Cities [of Northeastern Tennessee], this march was more than twice the size of any I’ve been to—local press estimated the turnout to be more than 1,000,” she told The Politic. “In one of the most consistently conservative regions in the state and nation, it was great for all of us to know that leftists have a vibrant local base committed to advancing our visions for the future of our community and nation.”
But the March wasn’t without its controversies. Organizers in many cities drew criticism from the right for excluding pro-life feminists and from the left for failing to promote an intersectional approach to feminism.
“It was the hugest crowd I’ve ever been a part of, but very tame,” said Jackie Salzinger ‘18, who attended the Women’s March in Seattle, Washington. “I would actually say too tame for my tastes. In typical Northwest fashion, no one really wanted to bother anyone else, least of all the upper middle class white women that dominated the scene, so trying to start up chants to keep up energy was mostly fruitless,” she said.
Despite the criticism, the momentum following the March has continued to pressure the Trump administration in the form of issue-based advocacy and further protests, channeling the same combination of frustration and hope that drove protesters to the streets on January 21.
“It was heartening to see so many people, many of whom I assume have never gotten out like this for a political event, voicing their discontent and willingness to question the new status quo,” said Salzinger.