Additional reporting by Noemi Arellano-Summer and Nastassia Velazquez. Photos by Carolyn Komatsoulis.
This past Saturday, January 20th, the city of Boston came to life in Cambridge Common with the 2018 Cambridge/Boston Women’s March, where rally cries were heard and individuals came together in the thousands.
Hundreds of other protests were planned around the country this past weekend on the anniversaries of President Trump’s inauguration and the previous Women’s March. This year, there has been a shift in focus to the 2018 Midterm elections.
“The world changed the day that Donald Trump was sworn in as President, but the world changed again the day after,” said Elizabeth Warren in a statement read to the crowd. “We all have a job to do. Start by getting people elected who share our values. That means right now.”
An audience of thousands, dotted by “pussy hats” of the previous year, heard speakers such as Maura Healey, the current Attorney General of Massachusetts and Sumbul Siddiqui, of the Cambridge City Council. Marc McGovern, the mayor of Cambridge also spoke and noted that Cambridge was a symbolic location.
“We are one of the first sanctuary cities in the country. We are the first city where same-sex couples could legally marry in the United States,” said McGovern.
Sandra Collins, an attendee, held a sign depicting the infamous Der Spiegel cover portraying Donald Trump as the final stage of the devolved human race and said “Just the course of events since last January, are an indication of why women need to keep marching. The #MeToo movement, the #TimesUp movement, the women’s movement, the feminist movement.”
Reports of less unity within these movements have surfaced, and although attendee Doreen Wade said “as women’s groups, as one women’s group, we can’t take up the amount of issues,” the Women’s March did address a lot of issues, including the Muslim ban, poverty, misogyny in the military and the plight of women serving jail time.
Furthermore, at the Women’s March itself, issues of accessibility were addressed when speaker Rhoda Gibson of MassADAPT had to instruct women in the crowd to move out of the way after access to the stage was blocked.
Other matters that were included were dialogues on the inclusion of transgender women.
“Last year, I didn’t go to the Women’s March. I felt excluded from the March because I’m trans. I felt this omission because of the vocal minority of the people who call themselves feminists but don’t stand up for all women,” said Aleksandra Burger-Roy, a speaker and student attending Northeastern University. “We all need to stand together as women and fight for the rights of all women.”
For Laura Rotolo of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, issues of immigrant rights took precedent, especially with the recent deportations of ‘Dreamers’ at the hands of the Trump administration.
“We must demand that Congress act, but we’re here in Massachusetts, and we can’t let Massachusetts off the hook,” said Rotolo. “When it comes to immigrant rights, we aren’t a progressive state.”
Valentine Moghadam, a professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Northeastern University, discussed how President Trump could be helping people, and especially women, in Iran.
“Instead of Tweets about how brutal the Iranian regime is—and it is—and these opportunistic endorsements of the Iranian protests that took place earlier this month,” she said. “What the Trump regime really needs to be doing is supporting and endorsing the Iran nuclear deal and the sanctions against Iran.”
The organizers, although different from last year, shared their own vision for the United States moving forward.
“Our hopes for the future are this country are to live up to the ideas America promotes worldwide,” said Michelle Cunha, Assistant Director at the Massachusetts Peace Action, and an organizer for the Women’s March. “Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for all.”