Over half a million people united to march alongside one another in Washington D.C. on Jan. 21 to support women’s rights and protest President Donald Trump in the first few weeks of his presidency.
Organizations on campus like the Stony Brook College Democrats, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Stony Brook have shown their support for the movement.
“It was so inspiring to see millions across the world share the same values we uphold through the Women’s Marches,” Shannon Blackmer, public relations officer for Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Stony Brook University, said. “Our members were there in spirit and through social media, cheering on every step and every spoken word.”
Protesters wore “pussyhats,” which are pink knitted, crocheted and sewn hats that were created and mass distributed by founders of the Pussyhat Project, a self-proclaimed movement intended to “make a unique collective visual statement” and provide representation to those who were unable to attend the women’s marches.
Pussyhats were donned by what the project websites refers to as, “a sea of pink” in an effort to take back the term after a tape was leaked in October by The Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, revealing then-presidential candidate Donald Trump saying, “Grab her by the pussy.” Marchers also yielded flags, signs and banners, sarcastically calling each other “nasty women” and “bad hombres,” two terms coined by Trump.
A number of Stony Brook University students attended the marches, which spanned the globe in a matter of a few short days. Tyler Muzio, sophomore political science major, self-proclaimed feminist and president of the Stony Brook College Democrats, attended the Women’s March on Washington.
“The march was to show Trump that we aren’t going anywhere and I felt that it was really important to be a part of it,” he said. “So I went.”
Marches were held around the world including in New York City, Los Angeles, Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and Antarctica. The Women’s March on Washington website estimates that nearly 5 million marchers participated in 673 marches around the world. In Washington D.C., celebrity activists including Michael Moore, Gloria Steinem, Alicia Keys, Madonna, America Ferrera, Scarlett Johansson, among others, made powerful and inspiring speeches, inciting applause from the crowd.
“The president is not America,” actress America Ferrera said to the crowd. “His cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America. And we are here to stay.”
Universities throughout the country including Yale University, Binghamton University and Georgetown University have shown support for the movement, as evidenced by protests and marches held on campus and off to emphasize the importance of women’s rights and other issues.
“It was awesome. It was a beautiful sight and there was so much love and energy. It was also really safe and peaceful,” Muzio said of the Women’s March on Washington. “I wanted to feel that energy and have a moral boost for the next four years, and that was exactly what I got.”
Over the course of Trump’s first month in office, marchers began to protest issues such as immigration and racism, motivating companies and organizations including Lyft, Airbnb, Microsoft, Expedia, Amazon, Apple and Google to release statements showing their support for the cause.
“We support those in struggle as if they were our loved ones,” Blackmer said. “It is important for us to show the dozens of SBU students directly affected by the executive order on immigration that they belong here in the Seawolf community.”
According to Blackmer, it is important to show solidarity for other movements and communities in the fight for social justice.
“It was an honor to work in collaboration with the Stony Brook College Democrats and the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance to maintain an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for all students of all backgrounds pursuing their education for a better future at SBU,” Blackmer said.
Even though Planned Parenthood has been criticised by President Trump, Blackmer said that the group will continue promoting sexual health and education, reproductive rights, consent culture and social activism on campus.
In response to the women’s marches across the nation, President Trump tweeted the statement, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”