The day after the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States of America, millions of people across the globe participated in the Women’s March to protest our new American reality.
Many fear that the xenophobic, racist, and misogynistic rhetoric that catapulted Mr. Trump into office will now become manifest in federal policies that we all must follow. Many fear that we have elected a thin-skinned narcissist who at times behaves more like a child than the most powerful person in the world. (No, Mr. President, you cannot sign an Executive Order to fire the cast of Saturday Night Live.) And some of these concerns have already made news, sadly it’s real news, not the fake kind conjured up from what his administration is calling “alternative facts.” In the week since the new administration has taken control, executive orders attempting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, halt federal support for contraceptives and family planning education in developing countries, advance previously halted controversial oil pipeline projects, limit press access to the White House, direct federal funds to build a wall at the U.S./Mexico border and punish “sanctuary cities,” and to control the flow of information from federal agencies have already been introduced.
So on Saturday Americans came out en masse to make a statement to the new administration. There were millions of people participating in over 600 celebrations around the world, including half a million on the National Mall in Washington DC, three times as many attendees as the inaugural ceremony the previous day. In major cities here at home, from Los Angeles to New York to Atlanta, hundreds of thousands gathered in protest. In cities abroad, from Sydney to Paris to Nairobi, the streets were full in an unprecedented international show of solidarity. And even here, a record crowd of over 5,000 took to the streets in Riverside’s downtown pedestrian mall in an act of resistance to Mr. Trump’s impending policies.
As an observer of the Women’s March in Riverside it is clear to me that the divided state of our nation, can never be unified under this administration because there is a fundamental difference in values that goes beyond party politics. Unlike recent elections that appeared to divide our country, the divisive rhetoric, subsequent appointments and outright lies from the new administration have fueled a movement that appears poised to show the new leadership and the world that evil only triumphs when good people do nothing. For Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Bookstore owner and one of the Riverside Women’s March organizers, the outpouring of support for the march was a sign of hope, “My community doesn’t believe in his agenda,” she said, “…this is my Riverside.”