The 2019 Women’s March was prefaced with controversy, and after two years, questions of fatigue and messaging paused the enthusiastic participation that was seen in 2017. But plenty of people across the country still braved January weather to show support for what once the largest march in U.S. history. The Cut spoke with four women about what it was like to march this year, and whether the recent controversy affected their experience.
Emily, 20, Boston Women’s March
The controversy surrounding the women’s march didn’t affect my decision about going, but I was concerned about the anti-Semitic accusations. I still felt it was important to go to support the message of the march. The event this year was a little disorganized. A lot of people left before the march because they couldn’t understand what was going on.
The best part for me is honestly was arriving to the march and start reading all the signs people made for this year. The worst part was that when I was leaving there was this kid going into the Boston Commons, where the program was happening, with a MAGA hat. It was a young guy in his 20s just walking you know cocky looking with his MAGA hat like “yeah I’m going to kill your vibe.”
Even though it wasn’t the best march ever, I feel like it helps to get a lot of attention to social injustice happening in this country. And as a young immigrant, I feel like I need to help amplify the voices of all my Latina friends that are being kept quiet.
Esther, 47, New York Women’s March
I went to the DC march after Trump’s inauguration. It was wonderful and gave me hope. But logistically, it was very challenging to get there, so last year, I went to the New York City march, instead. And I did that again.
I live in a conservative area in Long Island — Peter King’s district. So, to go into the city and be surrounded by all of these people who feel the same way as I do is really inspiring. I love it.
I do think there are very valid concerns about the Women’s March organizers, but my understanding is the New York organizers are separate from the D.C. organizers. I feel like the problems are with the D.C. organizers, and I wish they would step down, actually.
The idea of a march, where one day we are all marching, is a great idea. Logistically, it’s gotta be a nightmare, but I hope it continues.
Avni, 18, New York Women’s March
I decided to attend this year because my parents didn’t let me go last year (at the march in Cincinnati) because I didn’t have a green card at the time and my parents didn’t want me to get in involved in anything that could get me in trouble politically. I made sure my friends and I went to a march that was not associated with leaders who have been at the center of the anti-Semitic controversy.
The march felt good this year, but I’ve also never been to a march before that I can compare to, though I have been to Cincinnati pride. This was very different. The atmosphere was a lot more heavy and serious rather than joy you see at pride.
The best part of the day was on the train when a woman asked my friend what “white feminism” meant after reading her poster that said “white feminism is not feminism.” We told her about intersectionality. She thanked us at the end of the conversation. It made me happy knowing that people are willing to get educated about important issues like that.
Worst part of the day was seeing a group of Trump supporters at Columbus Circle and one of the people waving the Trump 2020 flags. Attending the march makes me feel hopeful, but I still didn’t see that many men in the crowds which was kind of disappointing.
Kaiya, 20, Los Angeles Women’s March
Honestly, this is something I really like to do, I think it’s important to get out when you can, to make your voice heard. This year specifically, it was really awesome because we (UCLA’s Women’s Soccer Team) were invited to lead off the march, that was super exciting. And I wanted to just show solidarity for everyone out there marching, and to be surrounded by all of the love, especially the love of my teammates and my coaches and my family.
I stayed all the way through the march, and it was super cool, at the end I got to stand up on stage and dance for the last song, “We Are Family.” To see everyone with so much joy and so much excitement after a long day of marching and protesting, I was filled with happiness. I hope that the march will keep happening. I think it’s important for people to keep mobilizing as new issues rise up. I hope, as it grows, that more men come out and march. I hope that it continues to grow.