It was a cold, clear day, with a couple of clouds dotting the sky. A light breeze continued throughout the morning. As is typical in Colorado, the sun shone brightly, illuminating the pink hats of the crowd.
All in all, a picturesque day to protest today’s tempestuous political climate.
However, a curious emotion seemed to permeate the crowd—not anger, not hate, but joy at the community surrounding them. People moved slowly in the crowd, laughing, joking, participating in chants with a smile on their face.
Last year, in protests nationwide and around the world, women and men made it clear to the new presidential administration that they were not going down without a fight. Immense numbers spanning the globe came to support this message; according to some estimates, 3.3 million women attended a women’s march, far exceeding the 160,000 that showed up for Trump’s inauguration.
After the resounding success of the 2017 Women’s March, many people had doubts that the protest would spark change for women’s rights. Yes, it was impressive that millions of people across the globe had turned out to champion women’s rights in mid-January, but would these women be able to sustain the momentum they had gained?
Well, yes. Two of the defining stories of 2017 were the #MeToo movement and the number of women running for office in 2018. This year, 392 women are planning to run for the House of Representatives, and 49 women are planning to run for the Senate, more than 68% higher than the same amount of women who announced they were planning to run for senate in 2014. More than 25,000 women have contacted Emily’s List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice democratic women, with interest in running for positions ranging from the local school board to a senate seat. This is a marked contrast to the 920 women who contacted Emily’s List between 2015 and 2016.
While the Women’s March has impacted people nationwide, it has also impacted our small, very progressive private school in Boulder, CO. This year, I attended the women’s march in Denver with Dani Cooke, Leo Sipowicz, Grace Phillips, and Sam Andrews. While the crowds were not quite as impressive as last year in Denver (60-70,000 compared to 150,000), there was still quite an impressive turnout. While it seemed the march’s attendance had decreased, there was in increase in the number of noticeable counter protesters: from 0 to 2.
Off to the side, nearby to the Denver Modern Art Museum, two men held signs protesting the women’s march. One read, “Proud to be a straight, white male,” and the other held a sign that read “Feminism is cancer.”
Sam Andrews, typical to his nature, informed the rest of us that he was going to go talk to the protestors. While our party mocked his decision off to the side, a local CBS reporter, impressed with Sam’s willingness to talk to the two men, decided to interview him on television.
A rather extraordinary thing happened while Sam was talking to the reporter: a women ran up next to the protestors and proceeded to take off her top, revealing mastectomy scars.
The man with the sign that read “Feminism is cancer,” tilted his sign down towards his lap, so that no one from the crowd could see it.
A woman shouted from the crowd, “You should run for office!”