NYC Women's March: Pink, Proud, and Headed to the Polls

 Photography by Wes Parnell

Photography by Wes Parnell

On the anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration, thousands of New Yorkers carried signs and banners through central Manhattan, chanting “Love not hate, makes America Great.” One of over 250 marches around the country, this Saturday’s demonstration was a show of solidarity in light of a political atmosphere the walkers think lacks respect for women, immigrants, and minorities.

“I want everyone to vote. I don’t care how they vote, but get out there and vote. In the end, I believe the truth will prevail.”

“Half of the American people are women; we need more equality. Not superiority… just decency.” Said Judy Brady, a New Jersey Resident.

The first women's march, taking place the day President Trump entered office, caught flack for being a fruitless spectacle. During the march Donald Trump tweeted about why the participants did not go vote. The Guardian described it as “destined to be an ineffective feelgood spectacle adorned with pink pussy hats.”

But amidst the crowd of pink hats and ‘Resisting Bitch Face’ signs, a deeper issue was at play. The crowd was not just focused on women, but on injustice at large. Many were focused particularly on Donald Trump.

“It is terrible Donald Trump is president. He is lying, suppressing freedom, rights, and immigrants,”  said Benedikte Scheiby, a 66-year-old Danish New Yorker. “It is important that we demonstrate. The United [States] should look at Danish society for a more normal way of being in relation to human rights.”

Last year’s demonstration was reactionary, responding to an election where only half of eligible voters went to the polls. This year’s march emphasized proactivity, taking part in democracy and casting votes.

Holding a ‘Take the Polls’ sign, Barbara Teague, 72-years-old, chanted “This is what democracy looks like,” alongside Gen X, millennials and Gen Z’s. “I want everyone to vote, " Teague said. "I don’t care how they vote, but get out there and vote. In the end, I believe the truth will prevail.” 

After last year’s march, The Atlantic published an article comparing the women’s march to that of Russia's 2011 parliamentary protest in Bolotnya Square. The Atlantic highlighted a strong turnout with little to reverse effects due to “a vague, unstructured cause; too much diversity of purpose; no real political path forward; and the real potential for the meaning of the day to melt into self-congratulatory complacency.”    

 Photography by Wes Parnell

Photography by Wes Parnell

The United States has a history of being able to transform grassroots ideas into social and political change. The women’s march is a Jack of all trades protest, an umbrella for women, immigrants, and minorities alike, but this year’s demonstration did have its “path forward:” be aware, go vote, midterms are around the corner. For the thousands of Americans wearing pussy hats and uploading photos to snapchat, thousands were holding signs quoting the founding fathers and Eleanor Roosevelt. What is undeniable is that they were mingling, they were sharing ideas and crossing generational lines. Laura Adams, a New York Mother, took her eight-year-old daughter, Lucy, to the march.

Holding a sign that said “Future President #girlscanchangetheworld,” Adams caught the attention of other parents, demonstrators, and media. While Lucy ran around, holding her sign and speaking with grown-ups, Adams explained why she chose to bring her child.

“I think it’s important [Lucy] grows up knowing that her voice matters and should be heard,” Adams said. “This is a way of instilling that.”