The Lasting Legacy Of The First Women's March

Alanna Vagianos
·2-min read

Four years ago, on January 21, 2017, nearly half a million people showed up for the Women’s March in Washington, DC, and millions more joined around the world to protest the kinds of unjust and racist policies expected from the newly inaugurated president Donald Trump.

It was a day of anger, but also unity and joy. Parents brought their kids, women sported pink pussy hats, and people carried homemade signs with statements like “A woman’s place is in the revolution!” and “Make America gay again.”

It was also a day of dire warnings. Women warned that Trump’s racist, misogynistic and violent rhetoric would have real consequences. In the years after, those fears were borne out in his policies and practices.

Nearly four years later, on January 6 of this year, a mob of Trump’s most fervent supporters – incited by the then-president himself – violently stormed the US Capitol to try to stop Congress from certifying president-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump’s presidency was thus bookended by two very different groups registering their reactions to losing an election. To Women’s March organisers, the end came as no surprise.

“Women said this would happen,” noted Rachel O’Leary Carmona, the executive director of the Women’s March. “This is exactly who we knew Trump to be. This is exactly who we said he was. And this is exactly why we got him out of office. Because this attempted coup is just the beginning of what he could have done if he got another four years.”

On the four-year anniversary of that first protest, HuffPost spoke to Linda Sarsour, an original organiser and co-chair of the Women’s March. (She is no longer affiliated with the group. Sarsour and two other original co-chairs stepped down from their positions at the organisation in 2019 after reported in-fighting and accusations of anti-Semitism.)

Linda Sarsour speaks during a National Day of Action for a Dream Act Now protest on February 7, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
Linda Sarsour speaks during a National Day of Action for a Dream Act Now protest on February 7, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Looking back at that day four years ago and the organising that happened around that first historic Women’s March, how do...

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