Women’s marches, local and global

Mary Jane Williams, member at-large from Florida, in DC on the day before she marched at the Presidential Inauguration. Courtesy Mary Jane Williams

WILPF members from the US and from other WILPF Section countries shared reports and messages about the January 21 Women’s marches. Here are some of the messages. For photos from the marches, visit Women’s Marches across the country.

From Washington, DC

Mary Williams, member at-large from Florida, in Washington, DC, on January 20
I carried the “End the Whole Nuclear Era” banner, with Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, all day on Inauguration Day, with all positive interest and feedback. Didn’t run across major news crews that day in the huge crowd, unfortunately, though the day before one or two had said might be interested in filming us on Inauguration Day itself, if we ran into each other. Did do an interview for Thailand TV, and for a website in the Middle East. Was hoping for Japan and Europe but no luck finding them.

Judith Elson, from Washington, DC
Judith Elson, of the Greater Philadelphia Branch, hosted Carilyn Hammer, from Humbolt County Branch, and they marched together at the Women’s March in DC. Carilyn had sent out an email looking for housing for the march. Judy hosted her. This is WILPF networking in action!

Reports about Local Marches

Sue Hilton, Humboldt CA Branch
We had about 5,000 people marching in Eureka, in a county of about 130,000. We think that’s pretty good—certainly the biggest demonstration in the almost 30 years I’ve lived here. Great speakers, from local tribes and the NAACP and local elected officials—specifically, city council members from Eureka and Arcata, and they read the Eureka City Council resolution in support of human rights for everyone. WILPF had a table—the organizers kindly provided canopies, which was very useful, since it was raining at the beginning, although not for the march itself. We got lots of people signed up for our email list; handed out info on our peace scholarship; got people to write messages of support for our congressman (who has basically been pretty good, and who wrote a great message about why he wasn’t attending the inauguration); and made connections with two other local organizations (350.org and the Northcoast Environmental Center), who are interested in being involved with the April 22 Solidarity Event. The Raging Grannies sang at the end, as people were coming back to the rally site. Actually, we sang twice: once, when the first of the marchers reached us (it was led by a group of girls holding the banner); and later, after most of the people had gotten back. The girls were so enthusiastic and energetic that we invited them up onto the stage with us, and they sang “Girls Rule the World.”

Christine DeTroy, Brunswick, Maine
A number of Maine towns will have gatherings in their communities—definitely in Augusta, Portland, and also in Brunswick (10 to 11 a.m. on Sat., Jan. 21, at the intersection of Pleasant and Maine Streets). A few of our Brunswick members will be part of the local event—others are planning to be in Augusta. . . . The dove buttons seem a good idea. I still have a few left and can share them. . . . It certainly identifies us in a simple and straightforward way. The sashes are also good and highly visible. I remember wearing one for an ERA demonstration in Florida—white dresses and green sashes, going back to the days of suffragette activities.

Joan Goddard, San Jose, California
We will be concentrating on giving membership information to women who seem interested in San Jose, as will others elsewhere, I'm sure.

Joan Brannigan, St. Louis, Missouri
Joan reported passing out the WILPF postcards: “We used them all and have 23 new names!”

Betty Traynor, San Francisco, California
We used the new “End the Whole Nuclear Era” banner from the Disarm/End Wars committee. Thanks to Barbara Nielsen for getting it to us in time. Some of our WILPF-SF and East Bay members marched in Oakland as well. Jean Hays from the Fresno Branch and Darlene Pratt took part in the Oakland march.

Tina Shelton, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Branch had a few going [to Washington], including Judy Elson and Gayle Simon. Others of us participated in the Philadelphia March.

Hattie Nestel, Boston, Massachusetts
Hattie wrote the march attendance was reported at 100,000, but later she thinks the number was 150,000. She sold all 200 of her “no fossil fuel” buttons at the march.

From San Diego
Listening to speeches at the San Diego Civic Center! A wonderful march followed from the Civic Center to the County Administration Building. An estimated 40,000 people participated!

Mary Hanson Harrison, Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa, 26,000+ women, men, girls, boys (babies, too) stood up and shouted out!!! Our global sisters were there in spirit too!

Messages from around the World

Women’s March in Copenhagen. Courtesy WILPF Denmark Section

From Denmark—
In Copenhagen we were 5,000 marching in solidarity for women’s rights worldwide.
          —In peace, Ida Harsløf

From Scotland—
Scottish WILPF banner out in Edinburgh Friday 20th. Vigil during the Inauguration ceremony. In Edinburgh we attended a vigil at the American Consulate: 3,000 people on the 21st. Our sisters in England joined the 100,000-strong march in London.
             —In peace, Anne Scott, Scottish Branch WILPF

From New Zealand—
WILPF sisters marched in New Zealand too. It was a wonderful experience to be part of.
             —Megan Hutching

From Spain—
We, WILPFers of Spain, join today attending Sister Marches in Barcelona, Zaragoza and Madrid.
WILPF Spain is with you, US women!            
              —Best regards, Carmen Magallón Portolés, Presidenta de WILPF-España

From Germany—
Dear fellow WILPF women in the US! This is just to congratulate—whatever your hand has been in it—for the impressive women’s march on Washington today, which we’re still watching on democracynow.org: courageous women representing a coalition of a progressive America, and committed to build a US-wide movement to stop political madness, racism and nationalism in state power from the very first day. Carry on!
               —Dodo van Randenborgh (84) and Susanne Willems (57) from Berlin-Köpenick


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