Women’s March on Washington
Defying the 45th President of the United States
Waves of people with bright “pussyhats” and protest signs made in rejection of the new presidency flooded the nation’s capitol, shattering the record as the largest inaugural protest in U.S. history on Donald Trump’s first full day in office.
Amongst the 500,000 people bearing signs that read “Our Voices Will Be Heard,” “Proud to be a Nasty Woman,” and “Not My President” for the Women’s March on Washington, a small group of Gainesville women wore bright pink capes with spray-painted power fists.
She is marching to reject the notions of sexual assault, bigotry and xenophobia that have been “normalized by the Trump presidency.” Her sign quoted Abigail Adams, noting that women will not be held to any laws in which they have no voice or representation.
Su Mendez, who made the capes alongside Emma Brady, regarded herself and her group of friends as the “Martha Stewarts of resistance.” The power fist decorated on the pink fabric is a symbol of resistance against the new presidency.
Demonstrators of all ages packed the streets for the women’s rally, braving 50-degree weather to listen to speeches of a profoundly different vision than what Trump proposed a day earlier during his inauguration. Some carried their babies through their first march while others guided their elderly parents, chanting and waving signs to defy the man who defeated the first female presidential candidate.
“Women’s issues are truly family and community issues,” Melissa Hawthorne said, explaining why the 14-hour drive from Gainesville was important to her. She was the transportation and logistics coordinator for the Florida chapter of the Women’s March on Washington.
She organized seven buses to depart from the Oaks Mall parking lot on Friday afternoon in order to offer an affordable alternative for people to traveling to D.C. Others drove themselves, flew on planes or rode on trains.
“We had more buses than some of the larger cities in Florida so I’m very proud of our little town,” said Holly Sprinkle, coordinator of the Gainesville group of the Florida Chapter for the Women’s March on Washington. She proudly wore a bright orange sash that read “Florida” across her chest and a pink “pussyhat” on her head.
Some thought the hats set the tone for a march that focused heavily on genitalia at the expense of the transgender and non-binary community. Others wore the bright cat-eared hats as a symbol of feminism in a sly allusion to the lewd comments Trump made about grabbing women’s genitals in 2005.
“The way we treat the most marginalized and disenfranchised people among us says a lot about our character as a country,” Sprinkle said. “We are here to let our new president know that using a rhetoric of hate is not ok.”