Protests and marches are a major part of American history. The year of 2017 will be one for the history books with protests, marches and walkouts occurring all across the nation, the reason? Donald Trump.
On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, protests broke out across the nation. Some in Washington D.C. expressed their distaste for the president through acts of anger and property destruction like breaking windows, burning flags and destroying buildings. The rebels were then tear gassed and about 200 people were detained. However, there were many peaceful protests with secured permits during the inauguration as well.
The day after the inauguration, the Women’s March took place. According to CNN, the idea started on Facebook and transformed into a worldwide movement. The march attracted more than 5 million people from across the globe. The march became a platform to protest against the new president’s agenda and to voice the need for women’s equality. Fontaine Pearson, one of the march’s key organizers, claims that the march wasn’t to protest against the president, but rather to speak out on women’s issues like sexual assault and workplace discrimination. During the marches, women held up signs and screamed chants that focused on their reproductive rights, demeaning things Trump has said about women, the pay gap, and other important issues. In Washington D.C., many high profile celebrities spoke at the event such as Ashley Judd, Scarlett Johansson, Alicia Keys and Madonna. Judd’s “I am a nasty woman” speech was from the words of nineteen year old poet, Nina Donovan. Some words that stood out were “I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rose, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonya, Malala, Michelle, Hillary.” Marchers were of all genders, ages, races and sexual orientations and they were all united in a sea of pink. Marchers wore pink homemade cat-eared “Pussyhats,” a play on the words Donald Trump spoke during a 2005 leaked tape about grabbing women’s genitals. After great success on January 21, march organizers are considering a second event to continue to voice the need for women’s equality.
In contrast, days after the Women’s March on Washington, the annual March for Life took place on the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade court decision. That court decision affirmed the legality of a woman’s right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth amendment to the Constitution. Mike Pence, an open opponent of abortion, spoke at the event claiming “Life is winning again in America. That is evident in the election of pro life majorities in the congress of the United States of America.” At the event, Pence reminded the crowd that Trump signed an executive order blocking federal funding for abortions overseas and promised that Congress will work to end federal funding going to American organizations that perform abortions. On the day of the march, the president tweeted “The March for Life is so important” and claimed that the marchers have his full support. Marchers held signs saying “defund planned parenthood,” “life counts,” and many others to speak out against abortion.
Protests extend beyond the realm of women’s rights and the right to life. For the future of our country and our world, scientists have planned a march for April 22, on Earth day, to voice their concerns about climate change and pollution. Because of the new president, recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists and citizens around the world. Scientists believe that representing science as a partisan issue “has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence.” Those who support scientific research and factual evidence-based policies can take a public stand.
More protests involved international affairs and immigration policies. Only a week into his presidency, Donald Trump signed an executive order on immigration. The order placed a ban on Syrian refugees for 120 days and blocked citizens from six other Muslim-majority countries such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days. The ban started a wave of protests around the country in airports and legal action that has paid off. As of February 10, the US court of appeals is refusing to reinstate the ban because it is deemed unconstitutional.
Overall, the wave of protests reminds me of the words Barack Obama spoke in his farewell address. If you are unhappy with the way things are going in your country, take action. “Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose.” I think Americans listened and they are ready to win.
Women’s March activists on January 21, 2017. (Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post)
Protesters expressing their opposition to President Trump’s recent travel ban at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport January 30, 2017 Photo: STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Pro-Life activists on January 27, 2017. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
By Jordan Tarrow