Women’s Marches Inaugurate the ResistanceMarch 22, 2017
1199ers marched throughout the regions—along with millions from Antarctica to Accra, Ghana—to tell the White House that human rights aren’t up for grabs. On Jan. 21—one day after the presidential inauguration—nearly 5 million people flooded the streets in hundreds of cities and towns around the nation and the world. At some 670 marches ranging in size from a handful to hundreds of thousands of people, the world’s women and their supporters asserted their commitment to nonviolence and protecting the rights of women, disabled persons, the LGBTQI community; and civil rights, reproductive justice, and the environment.
Thousands of 1199SEIU members and their families marched and rallied in at least 13 cities: Washington, D.C., Boston and Northampton, MA, Trenton, NJ, and Orlando and St. Petersburg, FL. In New York State, members marched in New York City, Syracuse, Watertown, Seneca Falls, Rochester, Ithaca and Buffalo.
Organizers of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and the hundreds of sister marches that grew out of it around the globe, emphasize that the events were not direct responses to the U.S. presidential election. Still, the actions were the world’s anxiety writ large around the Trump administration and its policies.
Thousands of 1199SEIU members and their families marched and rallied in at least 13 cities: Washington, D.C., Boston and Northampton, MA, Trenton, NJ, and Orlando and St. Petersburg, FL. In New York State, members marched in New York City, Syracuse, Watertown, Seneca Falls, Rochester, Ithaca and Buffalo. 1199ers marched with parents, children, siblings, and spouses. Many donned the signature hot pink, kitten-eared hats and other bright pink apparel.
They carried hand-made placards that were riots of color and the Union’s own signs celebrating women labor leaders.
In Massachusetts, members gathered near one of the landmarks of American Resistance—Boston Common.
Hand-lettered signs proclaimed “We Will Not Go Back” and “Feminism: Back by Popular Demand!” In New York City, April Louis, a CNA at Dewitt Nursing Home in Manhattan, was among the 1199ers who joined the march and rally of 400,000 strong. Louis brought her granddaughter Serenity Anderson, 6, and goddaughter Jaja Davis, 9. Standing in the crowd that stretched nearly halfway across Manhattan from the East River, Louis motioned to the little girls as she discussed her commitment to them.
“I’m here to say that we can’t go back,” affirmed Louis. “I want to show my girls that by uniting and demonstrating— this is how we win our rights.”
“ I’m here to say that we can’t go back. I want to show my girls that by uniting and demonstrating this is how we win our rights.”
April Louis, a CNA at Dewitt
Nursing Home in Manhattan
Several hundred 1199 retirees and active members headed to the nation’s capital from New York City. Boarding buses as the sun’s first rays shone in the morning sky, members were full of excitement and stern messages for the new POTUS.
“I’m here because I believe in a woman’s right to choose—a woman’s right,” said Linda Lawson, a retired clerk from Brooklyn’s Interfaith Medical Center. “A woman and a doctor—not Donald Trump.”
In Washington, D.C., 1199ers crackled with energy as they joined cheering throngs. 1199SEIU Pres. George Gresham gave remarks the capping the D.C. rally as members headed off to march.
“We in this country will stick together—we will fight together, we will support each other,” promised Gresham. “We will stand up for women’s rights. We will fight for immigrant’s rights. We will stand up for worker’s rights. We will stand up for human rights. We will stand up for environmental rights.”