A year after millions of women across America took to the streets in droves to protest President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Women’s March was back Saturday, and in Durango it was more than 500-people strong.
The crowd gathered in cold weather at Rotary Park was a mix of young and old, women and men, united in the belief that everyone deserves to be treated equally. They wore pink, cat-eared hats and carried signs that read, “The Future is Female” and “Love Trumps Hate.”
“I am 80 years old, and this has been going on for too long,” said Marilyn Sandstrom. “We need unity. I have been fighting this my whole life; there is so much misogyny.”
The cold was no deterrent for the crowd, which was similar in size to the group that gathered at last year’s rally despite foot-deep snow.
The Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango and Shelley Silbert with Great Old Broads for Wilderness spoke before the march, invoking passion and motivation from the crowd through speeches and chants.
“If anyone can put in place a Congress that cares about liberty and justice for all, women can,” Silbert said. “If anyone can protect the lands we love, women can.”
Every time Silbert said “women can,” the crowd repeated the sentiment louder than the time before.
The first Women’s March was organized on Jan. 21, 2017, to promote equality and advocate legislation regarding women’s rights, immigration reform, LGBTQ rights, health care reform, racial equality and more.
What was initially organized in Washington, D.C., to send a message to the Trump administration grew in size to become the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Across the United States and the world, people of all ages and genders stood together in solidarity.
The second Women’s March, organized by Indivisible Durango, comes amid the #MeToo movement, which sheds light on the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault.
Durangoan Katherine Burgess, 72, was drawn to the Women’s March in part because of the #MeToo movement.
“This (sexual assault) has been hidden for too long,” she said. “Solidarity with women brings me out today.”
The march along Main Avenue from Rotary Park to the Durango Public Library attracted many repeat marchers who attended the Women’s March last year either in Durango or elsewhere.
Friends Mo Murray, 16, Molly Christensen, 18, and Becca Murray, 13, marched last year Santa Fe. This year, they opted for solidarity closer to home.
“This is so important because there is power in numbers and it gets the message across,” Becca Murray said. “People are facing discrimination under this administration, and it is important for them to know their voices are being heard.”
The message for equality was not lost on men, many of whom made up a large portion of the crowd.
Dale Kraemer, 63, was marching because “we are all American citizens.”
“I’m here with the women for solidarity, and to show that we are all one,” he said. “We have this conundrum of having a world leader who is a misogynist and inciting this hate. The environment and minorities are under attack. Religious choice is under attack. All the issues that were here a year ago are still here.”