Above: House Mintority Leader Nancy Pelosi (center), U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (background center right) and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloneyat the Women's March Washington, D.C.
Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento, handmaids, Washington power players, and more were highlights of the Women’s Marches around the world today, the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president.
Thousands of women turned out for the second annual march to resist Trump’s regressive agenda, call out assault by powerful men, and bring public attention to other injustices.
Argento, an actress who was among the first women to accuse movie producer Weinstein of assault, was a star of the Rome rally. She had been criticized by many of her Italians for not speaking out sooner about the abuse, which she says occurred in the 1990s, but she found a receptive audience today.
“I’d like to see how many of you today acknowledge that you have put up with abuse, by raising your hands,” she said, according to The New York Times. “And not just sexual. Abuse of power. Because we are women, because we don’t have power.” Numerous women raised their hands.
In New York and elsewhere, some women appeared in the red gowns and white headdresses worn by the handmaids in The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel that has been adapted into a Hulu TV series. In the world of The Handmaid’s Tale, women have no rights, and widespread infertility means that the few remaining women capable of childbearing are assigned to perform that duty as handmaids for men of the ruling class.
“We’re a group of men and women that believe fiction should not become reality,” Bronx resident Desiree Joy Frias, who belongs to a group called the Handmaid Coalition, told the Times. Frias, 24, was marching in New York City’s Central Park with her grandmother, Daisy Vanderhorst, and both wore handmaid costumes.
Thousands of women also gathered in Los Angeles, where marcher Amanda Kowalski told the Times, “I’m done with men feeling like they have some sort of power over women, and I’m definitely done with having a president who believes that he has the power to take things from them, to take things that are provided — like Planned Parenthood — from women, when they deserve the same sort of health care as anybody else.”
In Washington, D.C., the government shutdown didn’t keep marchers from turning out. Elected officials including U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (above addressed the crowd and called for more women to run for office.
“It’s women who are holding our democracy together in these dangerous times,” Gillibrand said, according to the Times. “To change the system, we need to change the players and have women at the table.”
Participants in Chicago made similar points. “2018 is going to be a great year to get more progressive people elected,” Julie Biel-Claussen, executive director of the McHenry Housing Authority in the Chicago suburbs, told The Washington Post at the downtown Chicago march.
In Nevada, where Democrats hope to flip a U.S. Senate seat, Las Vegas will be the site of a rally Sunday as a focal point of the weekend’s events.
Because of the shutdown, Trump didn’t travel to his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., for the weekend, but some protesters showed up nearby, many carrying “Impeach Trump” signs, the Times reports.
Trump sent out a tweet that appeared to congratulate the marchers, even though most of them oppose him.
Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
However, the Times notes, “According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the unemployment rate for women aged 20 and older has been falling steadily since 2012, years before Mr. Trump took office.”
Check back to Advocate.com for more coverage of the marches.