St. LOUIS — Around 13,000 activists gathered downtown early Saturday morning, January 21, 2017, as a “sister march” to the national Women’s March on Washington protesting the election of Donald J. Trump during his first weekend in office.
“I was just so happy when I heard this was happening here,” said Amanda Smith, 64. “This is exactly what needs to be happening so Trump knows he can’t take our rights away.”
The national Women’s March on Washington was a direct response to President Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail which focused on insulting and demonizing many groups, including: women, people of color, Muslims, the LGBT, Native Americans, people with disabilities, and survivors of sexual assault.
At 9:00 a.m. activists began the mile-long march from Union Station to Luther Ely Smith park, right outside the Old Courthouse, known to many as the Dred Scott Courthouse.
Marchers chanted and clapped over police sirens, while carrying signs that read, “Women’s rights are human rights!” and “Not my president!”
Lovecia Jones came to the march with her teenage son, mentioning that it was her first time out protesting.
“As a black woman who is a part of the LGBTQ community I refuse to sit back and watch our country go backwards,” she said. “We can’t repeat the same mistakes we’ve made over the years, that’s why it’s so important to fight back now.”
At Ely Smith park, protestors listened to organizers and speakers as they read poetry and thanked everyone for their participation.
Among them was Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who flew in from Washington D.C. after the inauguration on Friday.
“Yesterday I was on the podium and it started raining, which kind of matched my mood,” said McCaskill, “but this march has given me a renewed sense of the fight.”
As the march and rally came to a close, dozens of organizations hosted booths at the local YMCA office, where activists could learn about future events and what comes next in the fight for human rights.