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There is much to celebrate. The first march galvanized many women across the country to become politically active for the first time in their lives. Many poured their energy into helping to elect an unprecedented number of women to Congress last year.
People gathered at Freedom Plaza in Washington today for the Women’s March.CreditCreditJoshua Roberts/Reuters
In many cities across the United States, people have gathered together today to celebrate the second anniversary of the Women’s March that took place not only in the U.S. but also in cities in other countries. It is a smaller march than the one two years ago, to be sure, and yes, it has been plagued by dissension and controversy. It is a protest march; but it is also a celebration of how women’s activism has helped to elect a Democratic House and also helped to elect an increased number of knowledgable, enthusiastic, qualified women into Congress.
In the closest city to where I live, the day is overcast, and shows a potential for rain, yet thousands of demonstrators have gathered at our California Capitol with the aim of empowering women and men by providing support for grassroots activists to engage in local communities.
The women’s led march is a mass political movement that tells of the power of women to create change. The mission statement reads:
“Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.” . . . . words from which the current Trump/GOP led government has appeared to be allergic.
Many of the women who attended the Women’s Unity Rally at Foley Square in New York on Saturday came to support immigrants. CreditAngela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Excerpts From the New York Times
Two years after millions marched around the country and the world in an unambiguous rebuke to President Trump, much smaller crowds appeared at Saturday’s events surrounding the second anniversary of the Women’s March.
There was much to celebrate. The first march galvanized many women across the country to become politically active for the first time in their lives. Many poured their energy into helping to elect an unprecedented number of women to Congress last year.But Saturday was also a test of how the Women’s March movement has weathered a storm of controversy in recent months.
Tamika Mallory, co-president of Women’s March, the group that has planned the march in Washington, has been under fire for ties to Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, who is widely reviled for anti-Semitic speeches. The Women’s March has issued a series of statements denouncing anti-Semitism and apologized for its delayed response to the controversy.
.Tamika Mallory, CreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York Times
“I’m disappointed. It’s definitely not the turnout I was looking for” said Peggy Baron, 53, a lawyer from Dublin, Ohio, who said that the first Washington march two years ago had been “wall-to-wall women.”
But as the morning progressed, throngs of marchers began to fill the plaza, and spirits visibly lifted.
“I came two years ago. It’s definitely smaller, but the spirit is very much alive,” said Rachel Stucky, 53, an educator from Salem, Ore. “It’s a chance to march, to be with others who are like-minded, to be able to express my energy. People have a lot of say, and that doesn’t change
Jo Reger, professor of sociology at Oakland University in Michigan, who studies feminist movements, said other factors that can depress turnout include activist burnout, and paradoxically, success.
“Marches or movements can lose some momentum when people see some of their issues being addressed,” she said. “With the recent midterm elections, some may feel like the country is going in a different direction after the Trump election and that may lower the numbers participating.”
But Ms. Compton, who traveled to Washington from her tiny town in northeastern Georgia, said the sense of excitement was only growing. She said the group of Democrats in Rabun County, where she lives, was nearly defunct in 2016, but has 300 members today.
“We’re hopping busy all the time,” she said. “We came within a hair on a rat’s tail of electing a black woman as governor in Georgia.”
“If we get busy in a bunch of petty fights, we get nowhere,” she said. “Not working together got us exactly where we are now and look what is in the White House.”