On the anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration one year ago, tens of thousands of people took to the streets Saturday from New York to Los Angeles in hundreds of Women’s Marches to protest his presidency.
In the shadow of Trump International Hotel on Manhattan’s Central Park West, Lisa Topol, a 46-year-old advertising copywriter, said she came to “stand up and protect democracy.”
“I could not imagine not coming, what’s at stake couldn’t be more serious,” said Topol, of Manhattan, who there with her sister and a friend who came up from Florida to march. “It breaks my heart to see what is happening in this country to a degree I’ve never seen before. It’s terrifying.”
A sea of tens of thousands of protesters lined up for over a mile behind the march’s start at 62nd and Central Park West, just a block from the Trump International Hotel. Many wore the pink pussy hats made famous last year when millions marched across all seven continents.
Holding a sign that said “We Are All Dreamers,” Roxana Roja, 54, of Chester, New York, said she decided to march in honor of her nephew, a 27-year-old who came to the U.S. from Peru when he was 13 and now lives in daily fear of deportation since Trump got rid of DACA protections last year.
“It makes me upset,” says Roja, crying. “My nephew pays taxes, he works, he has a child who is an American citizen. He knows of no other country. The president chose to rescind the DACA status for no reason.”
Actress and View co-host Whoopi Goldberg gave an animated speech, telling the crowd: “We have started a movement that is still moving. We are here as women to say we’re not going to take it anymore.”
Rosie Perez also gave a stirring speech that beseeched protesters to take their power to the polls in 2018 to “flip the house” from Republican to Democrat. “This is our time, this is our moment,” she said.
She also called out Harvey Weinstein and other men who have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct.
“We need to do the same to Trump,” said Perez, referring to the 19 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, charges he’s vehemently denied. “There is no difference.”
Janie Sacks, 9, of Westfield, New Jersey, drew “Girl Power!” on pink poster board that she hoisted next to her mother, Sara Sacks.
“I love it,” says Janie of her first march. Sara took Janie, a third grader, “to become aware of the message of women’s equality and fighting for her rights. And to be a part of a historical moment.”
Along the parade route as people passed by the Trump International Hotel, and then several blocks later Trump International Realty NY on Central Park South, they burst into chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has to Go” and “F–k Donald Trump.”
During last year’s women’s march, Ashley Bennett told the crowd she was at work, unable to attend a women’s march, when an Atlantic County freeholder, John Carman, posted on Facebook: “Will the women’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?”
The post so enraged Bennett, a Democrat, that she ran for office for the first time against Carman, a Republican, and defeated him in an upset last November.
Bennett told the crowd that while she was scared to run, “I realize that if you wait until you feel ready, you won’t take action.” She added: “It is because you marched that I took the step to change my community.”