50 States of Blue correspondents dispatch from the Women’s March 2018

Photo: Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images

 

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country gathered in their respective cities and towns to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March — and most importantly, to show women’s movements aren’t coming to an end any time soon.

This year’s march was titled “Power to the Polls,” in the hopes the demonstrations will transfer to midterm wins. The protesters gathered to fight against gender-based sexual harassment, sexual assault, the gender-wage gap, the Trump administration’s immigration and women’s health care policies, among numerous other social issues that affect women.

Our correspondents and national staff joined activists on the ground in their respective states to document the demonstrations.

Here’s what they found:

Los Angeles, California

Ish Green, California Correspondent

Before heading downtown to the Women’s March in Los Angeles, I admitted to wondering how many would show up. I thought that way last year too. I was used to protests in the pre-Trump era, where it seemed so many were asleep to issues that did not directly affect them.

One thing you can say about Trump—he sure knows how to bring people together. And he brings them together in the hundreds of thousands.

Last year, Los Angeles hosted the biggest march in the United States, with 750,000 people cramming into the streets of downtown and marching to Pershing Square, where City Hall is located. I was vastly mistaken when I feared last year I’d be one of a few thousand protestors, and I was wrong to be afraid this year too.

LA Mayor, Eric Garcetti, posted today on Twitter that the second Women’s March drew upwards of 600,000 to the streets. It appears the resistance is going strong with no signs of stopping.

On the streets, the Sikhs of Los Angeles were passing out free food. Groups representing every cause threatened by the Trump administration and the complicit GOP Congress (which is pretty much everything at this point) staffed booths, while performers and speakers led a festive atmosphere of deviance in an age of anxiety, attacks on our democracy and a daily onslaught of offensive and damaging tweets.

The marches in Los Angeles and across the country demonstrated clearly that the focus on protecting civil rights for all, the health of our communities and environment, and reinforcing human dignity has not gone away. Not only has it not gone away, the leaders of the Women’s March are using the hashtag #powertothepolls to reinforce that the next step in resistance is taking the momentum built and bringing it where it will change the game—to the midterms elections of 2018.

As a popular protest sign said, let’s “grab ‘em by the midterms.”

Washington, D.C.

Emily Crockett, Managing Editor

When I covered the Women’s March on Washington last year, there were so many people crowded on and around the National Mall — about half a million — that we couldn’t actually march anywhere. This year, the crowd in DC (which I’d guess was more in the tens of thousands range) marched right past the White House, chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” and “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!” — with a phenomenal all-female Afro-Brazilian percussion band, Batala, leading the way.

DC wasn’t the national focus of the Women’s March this year, and fittingly so. With the 2018 midterms on the horizon, organizers instead decided to hold the main march in Nevada, a swing state with a large immigrant population, to highlight their current focus on voter registration activism. But immigration was very much on the minds of DC marchers this year; pro-Dreamer signs abounded on the first day of a government shutdown over the fate of the DACA program.

New York City, New York

Julia Llinas Goodman, Senior Editor

Last year, I was at the Women’s March in D.C., so I can’t compare to the size of the crowd last year. This year there were an estimated 200,000 people in attendance, which is about half of last year’s numbers – but it was still packed. I spent about two hours on 71st St. in a slow-moving crowd trying to reach the main march route, which ended up being a great way to meet people and see the signs that were out.

There were quite a number of detailed anus drawings on signs referencing Trump’s recent ‘shithole’ comments. One of my favorite signs in reference to this read “I’m from Norway – I’m not that great!”

There were also a ton of pro-DACA and clean Dream Act signs, which was great to see. The overwhelming focus was on anti-Trump slogans (I saw one poster that said “Robert Mueller is the sexiest man alive,” which I thought was weird, but hey, I’m not here to kink-shame). That said, there were also a lot of other political causes represented, including immigrants’ rights, anti-fascism, and a group protesting the incarceration of 16-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Julia Passwater, Indiana Correspondent

I attended the women’s march in Indianapolis on Saturday, which was hosted by the Women’s March on Washington – Indiana chapter. The march started with a rally at Indianapolis’s American Legion Mall, where I listened to several Indiana speakers, including Retired Steelworker Chuck Jones (who was President of Local 1999 during the negotiations to keep Carrier jobs in Indiana last year, and he was the subject of twitter attacks by Trump.)

All of the speakers focused on the upcoming elections and the need for progressive Hoosiers to VOTE and campaign for progressive candidates. After the speeches, we marched through the streets of downtown Indianapolis, around Monument Circle and toward the Indiana State Capitol building. At the Capitol, we listened to more speakers, while visiting booths set up by local progressive groups and candidates.

Bangor, Maine

Brian Hannon, Maine Correspondent

San Francisco, California

Wendy Thurm, Legal Editor

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