Those who attended the New York City Women’s March on Saturday along Central Park West didn’t just rally for women.
About 200,000 people showed up in support of immigrants, science, gun control, the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, health care and more.
But underneath it all was a general dislike for President Donald Trump, who was inaugurated exactly one year ago Saturday, that united the crowd.
Anger toward the nation’s 45th president peaked as the march passed Trump International Hotel and Tower near Columbus Circle. Ralliers held up their middle fingers and chanted, “We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter.”
Some brought signs that attacked the entire administration, including one that read “I’ve seen better cabinets at IKEA.”
Last year, women’s marches across the country were criticized for predominantly representing the interests of white women rather than being inclusive of women of color and members of the LGBT community.
“It’s important as white women not to dominate the discussion,” said Erin Sricy, a 48-year-old college administrator from Montclair, New Jersey. “White women are kind of responsible for Trump.”
Emily Beidel, a 20-year-old student from West Brighton, said she came in support of all women’s rights – not just those of white women – because she felt that last year’s march in New York City lacked inclusivity.
“You can’t say you’re an advocate for women’s rights without including queer and trans women,” she said. “Without intersectionality, feminism is basically white supremacy.”
For Sylvia Silberger, there were more reasons to march than she could fit on her two signs. But the 47-year-old Long Island resident named the environment as an issue at the front of her mind and outfitted her son with a sign that read “Please save the planet for me!”
“I’ve been lucky to have this wonderful quality of life,” she said. “We’re on the verge of losing that.”
Becky Sawyer, a 63-year-old retired librarian from Millburn, New Jersey, also placed the environment at the top of her list of concerns. She brought a sign that read “Science is real” because she said she feels those in power have not done enough to address the issue of climate change, which affects everyone.
Advocates for gun control also attended the march. Dozens came in support of Gays Against Guns, a group led by 56-year-old Brigid McGinn, who twirled a neon ribbon while carrying a large banner decorated in pink and orange sequins.
For Rachel Krause, however, health care is the issue she can’t stop thinking about. The 28-year-old art teacher said she was upset when Obamacare was dismantled because she benefited from the program before she became insured through her job. Now, she recoils at the idea that companies can decide for themselves whether to include birth control in the health insurance they provide their employees.
“I can’t believe men are deciding when I can use birth control,” Krause said.
Other attendees carried signs in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Linda Spencer, who worked with families for 20 years, said she is shocked the government doesn’t have a plan for people who only have this country to call home.
“It’s tearing families apart,” said Spencer, a 67-year-old retiree from Oneonta, New York. “We’ve always considered family to be important. It’s just not American.”
Volunteers from voter registration groups also lined the parade, offering to help attendees with change of address forms. Phyllis Hirshfield, a 70-year-old dance teacher from Connecticut, said she thinks it’s important to show up at rallies and speak up against injustice, but it’s even more crucial – especially for young people – to cast their ballots.
“We can walk all we want,” Hirschfield said. “But if we don’t vote, it doesn’t mean anything.”