In Downtown Memphis, an estimated 10,000 women, men, children, and other joined their voices to the fight at the Memphis Women’s March. The march ended at the National Civil Rights Museum where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot in 1968. The Memphis Women’s March was a sea of diversity Saturday afternoon, as people from all walks of life gathered in one place to share a common message of peace, resistance, and solidarity.
We reached out to the organizers of this event but, were unable to receive comment in time for the publishing of this article. However, I was able to speak with a few of those who marched and what I gathered was one solid message of unity with our sisters.
Tammy Green of Memphis (pictured in yellow), is a gay woman and mother who said, “I am marching so my daughter knows that her future is worth fighting for,” she continued by making a call out to the younger women of today, “Join us. Your female heritage has been waiting for you.”
An estimated 4.7 million people gathered in Washington DC and in cities around the globe Saturday in protest of the inauguration of Trump. What started as a Facebook post by a Hawaii retiree became the largest and most unprecedented international rebuke of a new president in the history of our nation, showing that one person can make a difference by only speaking up.
The Memphis Women’s March held specific significance as, not only did it culminate at the spot where Dr. King lost his life, but it marked what many are heralding as a turning point in American politics. Being as the official White House website has now deleted the pages where once stood information on Civil Rights, HIV/AIDS, and LGBTQ rights, to many, the future is uncertain as to how those rights will be protected in the years to come.
Rachel Mouton (pictured right), a Memphis native now living in Louisiana, brought her three children with her to the Memphis Women’s March saying, “I am here for my children because I hope they can see these events and gain a voice. I want them to know that they can do something when they are faced with injustice and they do not have to be silent.” Her children added to that sentiment, “We are here to witness and be a part of history as we march for the people of Standing Rock, as well for those who live with disabilities.” Rachel’s oldest daughter is a patient at Memphis’ St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, so the subject of disability rights is one of deep significance to her.
Betty Herron (left) made it clear why she chose to march on this day, “I wanted to stand with my sisters and protest incoming President Trump and to let him know that I am not going back to the way things were,” she added, “after living through both Bush’s and Reagan, today I want young people to refer to my sign and to know that we are ‘Stronger than Fear’.” I asked Betty if this was her first march such as this and she laughed, “I haven’t marched since the 1970’s alongside Rev. Jesse Jackson, but that is how important this is to me. I didn’t march for President Obama and I didn’t march with #BlackLivesMatter, but something stirred in me when I saw Mr. Trump win. I knew I owed it to myself to get out and let my voice be heard.”
The crowds were heard giving chants of “This is what Equality looks like!” and ” Black Lives Matter” as they marched down Memphis’ Second Avenue in a common voice and a common resistance of the misogyny and racism that has gripped our nation in recent months. Signs showing support for Trans lives and Planned Parenthood were seen everywhere, as well as women hoping to show the world that they will not be taken back to the subservient days of the 1950’s.
Of course, though this was the Memphis Women’s March, numerous men were seen among the crowd showing support for the women in their lives. I spoke with David (pictured right) who held a sign that read, “Sushi Rolls, Not Gender Roles”, and asked him why he was at the Memphis Women’s March. “I am here to show support for women and everyone who deserves to live their lives as they see fit,” he added, “It is time for men to realize the ability to normalize a nonconformist view to gender roles in America.”
This day is one of obvious historical importance, not only for those who marched, but for those who were unable to be a part of Saturday’s events due to disability, being undocumented, or fears of repercussion from Mr. Trump’s administration. It is unlikely the fervor and passion shown by those involved in Saturday’s protests will be culled anytime soon. One thing that is certain, nearly all marginalized groups were represented on this day at the Memphis Women’s March and all around the world, and that is something for which we all can be proud.
Did you march somewhere today? Help #WomensMarch gain a count. Text the words “count me” to 89800 and follow the directions in the received text.