BY SABRINE BRISMEUR
“This is what democracy looks like!” was the cry of thousands of protesters at the Women’s Rally of South Florida at Bayfront Park on Saturday, drawing in people from all over the state to make their voice heard regarding both civil and human rights.
“It was incredible,” Senior Nikki Tjin a Djie, who attended the protest, said. “The Women’s March showed me that there are millions of women, men, and children who care about the plight of people — not just women, but all minorities.”
The idea of the Women’s March, a Washington, D.C. protest planned in response to President Trump’s inauguration on Friday, quickly gained popularity — so much, in fact, that individual protests timed with the Women’s March on Washington spread over all fifty states. Millions of people showed up globally for the protests, numbering in the hundreds of thousands in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Sister marches overseas in London, New Delhi, and Sydney, though billed as Women’s Marches, more directly protested the election of Donald Trump, a cause for foreign relation concern.
“I fully support the [U.S.] movement because it isn’t only about protesting a president,” Senior Grehan Edmunds said. “It’s about telling the government that we won’t let you take our rights away.”
Freshman Adrianna Luna, who followed the protest on social media, said that she hopes politicians realize that women won’t stand for any kind of discrimination or attempts of being limited from reaching their full potential.
“I dream that our country won’t be as blind and start to see that women have just as much strength, intelligence, and courage as anyone else in society,” Luna said.
Over ten thousand attended the protest at the Bayfront Amphitheatre in Miami just after one p.m. to march for a variety of causes — among them being Trump’s election, reproductive rights in politics, environmental issues, and civil rights for minorities.
“It was more than just equal rights for everyone,” Senior Hannah Vossen said. “[People in the march] were pushing to save Planned Parenthood, and protect the LGBT members of the community who were also under scrutiny because of comments made during the election that caused people to feel unsafe.”
Carrying a wide array of creative, inspiring, and oftentimes witty or inappropriate signs, the Miami protesters outnumbered the capacity of the Bayfront Amphitheatre shortly after two p.m., where speakers, impromptu rappers, and protestors congregated to discuss issues and share stories. Protestors outside of the park briefly formed a line march on Northeast Second Street and highway northbound I-95, accompanied by watchful patrol cars.
“Walking during the march felt safe, like I knew if anything happened, people would have my back,” protestor Faith Ward said. “There was this wild sense of unity. It was amazing.”
The sense of energy and hope was prevalent as protesters worked to send out a message of strength heard worldwide.
“Take the power back!” “Would rather be eating pho, but you know, fascism.” “I love Hispanics.” “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries.” were some of the signs seen during the protest, as well as various protest art pieces from artist Shepard Fairey, who created the iconic “Hope” poster for former president Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign.
Senior Natalie Mendoza attended the protest with friend Tjin a Djie, Nikon in hand to capture the historic moment.
“During the rally, I spent most of my time running around trying to document people and speaking to them about what made them come out and protest,” she said. “It really opened my eyes to how important photojournalism is.”
Tjin a Djie said that she was there to be a part of “something that’s about unity.”
“I think every girl who could have gone should’ve went,” she said. “I was there for the future of girls in this country and around the world.”
CCHS English teacher Shannan Brandt-Asciolla, a vocal advocate for women’s rights, described the atmosphere of the protest as supportive and welcoming, saying she got the opportunity to meet people from around the globe who shared her beliefs.
“There was a lot of camaraderie, huge sisterhood,” she said. “Everyone was just there for everybody.”
Beyond Miami, Cooper City alum took to the streets in other cities to protest. Adam Shlomi, a first-year Georgetown student, partook in the Women’s March on Washington.
“I’ve never seen so many people ever,” he said. “It felt like the whole world turned out for the Women’s March, and it was great to see powerful women supporting each other through music and politics.”
The protest scene in Washington was widely inclusive, integrating Black Lives Matter (BLM) rhetoric and feminist protest. Shlomi described a moment when black mothers, whose sons had been killed as a result of police brutality, shouted the names of their sons, with the crowd screaming back.
“It was a powerful show of solidarity against hate that threatens to plague this country,” Shlomi said. “We affirmed that America has many voices and we will be heard.”
But despite the global show of support for human rights at the Women’s Marches, criticism has been directed towards the exclusivity of the event, with many would-be protestors pointing out that the Women’s Marches have a very specific target demographic: white, straight women. This subconscious overlooking of minority women and their own worldviews have led to increased dialogue within feminist circles.
“I’m so proud of the Women’s March and all that it stands for, but I also hope it provides many who participated with a better understanding of the emotions of women of color, trans women, and women of all religions,” Senior Kiara Cooper said. “It’s important that the same energy witnessed at the rally is also in support of other groups demanding their human rights as well.”
Cooper stressed the importance of inclusivity in women’s protests and feminism as a whole, pointing out that valuing the experiences of minority women is essential in truly representing the entire scope of the female experience.
“We should be fighting for these women as well,” she said.
Ultimately, however, many protesters felt they had proved successful in sending out a message heard globally: Don’t mess with women.
“I was ashamed to be an American and a woman on Inauguration Day,” said Tjin a Djie. “But I felt very proud to be both during the Women’s March.”