“Love not hate makes America great!” chanted a group of around 10,000 demonstrators as they marched against racism, sexism, homophobia and in support of equal rights for all in the Biggest Little City’s Women’s March on Washington.
The Reno Women’s March on Washington was part of an estimated 673 Women’s Marches that took place on Saturday after the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
According to a Politico/Morning consult poll, President Trump’s favorability was 46 percent at the time of his inauguration, the lowest favorability rating of any incoming president in modern history. For comparison, Bill Clinton’s favorability was 58 percent when he was sworn into office in 1992, George W. Bush’s favorability rating was 59 percent in 2000, and in 2008 Barack Obama had a 68 percent favorability rating.
According to a report by Politico, more people came out for the Washington D.C. Women’s March on Washington than came out for Trump’s inauguration the day before, and according to the Washington Post, over a million people gathered in Washington and around the world in a demonstration of solidarity and inclusion.
In Reno, organizers Bridget Speer Loring, Mylan Hawkins and Tanja Hayes said they heard about the Women’s March on Washington in D.C. and wished they could go, but since they couldn’t they chose to try to organize a local march instead.
“The phrase ‘we are the ones we have been waiting for’ echoed in our minds as we saw the RSVP numbers on Facebook quickly increase from 40 to 60, 100, 500, and now over 2,000. We realized there was a large number of local people who felt like us – wanting to show solidarity with those targeted and degraded during and after the election season,” Hayes said.
The Reno Women’s March on Washington Facebook event encouraged people of all races, gender identities and religious beliefs to attend the demonstration.
“I am marching to teach my daughter that you have to keep fighting no matter what,” said Rachel Ching, a demonstrator at the march.
Ching’s daughter, Marielle, stood next to her with a hand-made sign that read, “Strength in Solidarity. Fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism and xenophobia.”
“Silence is complacency; I will not do nothing,” Marielle said. “Doing nothing is saying this is all ok.”
“We hope that all the energy and enthusiasm displayed by the March participants and supporters will translate into sustained action in the years to come,” Hayes said. “We hope that people will choose to be active in the causes they feel strongly about, whether it concerns racism, sexism, reproductive choice, immigration, Islamophobia, the LGBTQIA community, climate change, health care, education, or any other pressing issue. So much good work is already being done in these areas, and we hope that march participants will find groups to connect with and work with.”
“I am marching for equality for all and so that my child doesn’t have to go back to what my mother had to go through,” said Katy Martinez, a marcher and graduate student at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Martinez said to follow-up her activism at the march on Saturday she plans to work with and support Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union on projects they are working on. She also plans to keep her eyes open for other local projects to help promote equality and human rights.
“For people marching for the first time on Saturday, they might indeed be more inclined to come out to other protests and marches,” Hayes said. ”But our real hope is that people will do all the other work needed to effect change locally and around the country – call their elected officials, write letters to the editor, get involved in the legislature to speak their minds and voice their concerns. We believe that if enough individuals come together on issues, we can move this state and this country in a positive, inclusive direction. Again, so much good work is already being done by hardworking individuals and groups, and we hope that march participants will find homes for their activism.”
Among the individuals marching for women’s rights were individuals marching for immigrant and racial minority rights.
Marching down Virginia Street, Angel Guzman held a sign that read, “No human being is illegal.”
“Trump thinks we are illegal, but no human being is illegal,” Guzman said. “We are all here on earth. We are all contributing to society and we’re all equal here on earth.”
Despite the large turnout from marches in Washington, D.C. and the world, Trump largely ignored the protestors during his first full day in office. He made no mention of the protests and instead held a meeting with CIA employees where he falsely inflated the number of inaugural attendees.
Former Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted about the protest, saying, “Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values @womensmarch. Important as ever. I truly believe we’re always Stronger Together.”
The Women’s March on Washington was originally established by four co-chairs, Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York; Tamika Mallory, a political organizer and former director of the National Action Network; Carmen Perez, an executive director of The Gathering for Justice, and Bob Bland a fashion designer who focuses on ethical manufacturing.
The march was originally called the Million Women March, but the organizers eventually chose to name the Women’s March on Washington after the original March on Washington, the historic civil rights rally led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Speakers at the Washington, D.C. march included feminist icon and writer Gloria Steinem, who urged women to continue to be active, and actress Scarlett Johansson, who stressed the importance of supporting Planned Parenthood.
In Reno, Women’s March organizers said they hoped during the march that attendees took note of the allies and supporters they had coming out to march all around the country and the world.
“And we won’t just march, we will take further, long-term action to protect our brothers and sisters who feel marginalized,” Hayes said.