Weekend of Women's Marches Promises Continued Momentum - NBC Southern California
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Weekend of Women's Marches Promises Continued Momentum

"If we unite we can create change that will make this a better world," said Frederica Bocco, who attended the women's march in Rome

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    Women's March 2018: Resist, Vote, Take Action

    People participated in women's marches nationally with a message of taking action. Last year the marchers voiced their discontent. This year, they are pledging to vote, run for office, and elect new politicians in the 2018 midterm elections. (Published Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018)

    Thousands of people poured into a football stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, the anniversary of women's marches around the world, to cap off a weekend of global demonstrations that promised to continue building momentum for equality, justice and an end to sexual harassment.

    "This is a birthday party for a movement that has only begun to flex its power to change this democracy," Anna Galland, the executive director of the progressive group moveon.org, told the boisterous crowd.

    Following marches that drew huge crowds across the U.S. on Saturday, one year after President Donald Trump's inauguration, protesters gathered Sunday on multiple continents, including in London, Paris, Sydney, Madrid and Buenos Aires. The events culminated with the Las Vegas rally, which launched an effort to register 1 million voters and target swing states like Nevada in the U.S. midterm elections later this year, which could shift control of Congress. Organizers said they are planning future events in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.

    Paula Beaty, 53, a tech worker from Durham, North Carolina, attended the Las Vegas rally wearing an outfit recalling the women's suffrage movement of the early 20th century. She cited the difference women made in helping Democrat Doug Jones upset conservative Republican Roy Moore for a Senate seat in Alabama in December.

    "For us it's all about women's rights and we're seeing them be eroded with Trump in office," Beaty said. "The women made a difference in Alabama and we're hoping we can flip the House and Senate with the power of women."

    There was also a push for women to not just register as voters but as candidates. Democratic Idaho state Rep. Paulette Jordan, a member of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, drew an immense cheer when she told the crowd she was running to be not only Idaho's first female governor but the first Native American woman to be governor in any state. She implored other women to join her in running for office.

    "This is Idaho's future. This is the future of America," she said.

    The demonstrations came at a time of reckoning for many men in Hollywood, the media and other industries as women speak out about sexual misconduct and inequity in general. Among the speakers in Las Vegas was singer and actress Cher.

    "This is one of the worst times in our history and that's why I honestly believe that women are going to be the ones that fix it," Cher told the crowd. "Stay strong and remember if you don't have a vote, you don't have a voice."

    Those who took part in this year's events said they were galvanized by an avalanche of political and gender issues over the past year, as well as the #MeToo movement, which has been credited with countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct.

    2018 Women’s March Draws Thousands Across the Country

    [NATL] 2018 Women’s March Draws Thousands Across the Country

    Thousands marched all over the country in support of women’s rights.

    (Published Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018)

    Many of the marchers not only supported women's rights, but also denounced Trump's views on issues including immigration, abortion and LGBT rights. Demonstrators denounced Trump's views with colorful signs and even saltier language.

    Trump dismissed the suggestion that his presidency has been bad for women. He tweeted Saturday that it was a "perfect day" for women to march to celebrate the "economic success and wealth creation" of his first year in office.

    "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," the Republican wrote. "Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!"

    Thousands of people turned out Sunday in central London despite sleet and snow to show solidarity with women around the world. Demonstrators chanted across from British Prime Minister Theresa May's office on Sunday with placards reading "We Are Powerful" and "Time's Up" to mark the anniversary of Trump's inauguration.

    In a statement before the London march, activists said they were "coming together to pledge that we are going to make change in big and small ways."

    Scores also rallied in cities across Australia to support women's rights. The largest march was held in Sydney, with thousands gathered in the city's Hyde Park carrying signs with politically charged messages such as "If you're not angry you're not paying attention."

    Smaller marches also drew hundreds in Melbourne and Brisbane.

    Melbourne march organizer Melissa Goffin said: "I think last year was that watershed moment of President Trump's election." She added: "It's a new era of feminism."

    Protesters gathered near the Eiffel Tower to rally against sexual misconduct and sex discrimination. Heavy rain fell in Paris during the event on Sunday, which could have been a factor in the small number of participants compared to the marches in the U.S. the day before.

    Maggie Kim was one of the more than one hundred people who didn't let the rain and cold deter them.

    Kim told The Associated Press: "It doesn't matter if the weather is like this. We're still coming together, and we're going to still fight against Trump and his agenda."

    Some of the slogans on posters raised at the Paris rally read "Sorry for the inconvenience, we are trying to change the world" and "Look back, march forward."

    Halsey Recites Powerful 'Me Too' Poem at Women's March in NY

    [NATL-NY] Halsey's Powerful Speech at the NYC Women's March

    Halsey, whose given name is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, read a powerful, personal poem about her experiences with rape, abuse and miscarriage — experiences that many other women have as well. "This is the beginning, not the finale," she told the crowd," and that's why we're here, that's why we rally."

    (Published Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018)

    Demonstrators on Saturday denounced Trump's views with colorful signs and even saltier language.

    Oklahoma City protesters chanted "We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!" One woman donned a T-shirt with the likeness of social justice icon Woody Guthrie, who wrote "This Land Is Your Land."

    Members of the group Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Seattle burned sage and chanted in front of Seattle's rainy march.

    In Richmond, Virginia, the crowd burst into cheers when a woman ran down the middle of the street carrying a pink flag with the word "Resist."

    The march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday took on the feel of a political rally when U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats, urged women to run for office and vote to oppose Trump and the Republicans' agenda.

    "We march, we run, we vote, we win," Pelosi said, to applause.

    People gathered from Montpelier to Milwaukee, from Shreveport to Seneca Falls.

    "I think right now with the #MeToo movement, it's even more important to stand for our rights," said Karen Tordivo, who marched in Cleveland with her husband and 6-year-old daughter.

    In Palm Beach, Florida, home to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, several hundred people gathered carrying anti-Trump signs before marching. A group of women wearing red cloaks and white hats like the characters in the book and TV show "The Handmaid's Tale" marched in formation, their heads bowed.

    Cathy Muldoon, a high school librarian from Dallas, Pennsylvania, took her two teenage daughters to the New York rally, where about 200,000 people marched, and said marching gives people hope. She said this year's action is set against the backdrop of the Trump presidency, which "turned out to be as scary as we thought it would be."

    "I've not seen any checks and balances," she said. "Everything is moving toward the right, and we have a president who seems to have no decency."

    In Los Angeles, where an estimated 600,000 people gathered, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard, Scarlett Johansson, Constance Wu, Adam Scott and Rob Reiner were among the celebrities who addressed a crowd of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators at a women's march.

    'Do Not Try to Divide Us': Steinem at DC Women's March

    [NATL] Gloria Steinem at DC Women's March: 'Do Not Try to Divide Us'
    Gloria Steinem spoke at the Women's March in Washington, DC, amidst a foggy sky and thousands of people wearing pink hats. "This is the upside of the downside," she said gesturing to the crowd. "This is an outpouring of energy and democracy like I have never seen in my very long life."
    (Published Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017)

    Longoria, who starred in TV's "Desperate Housewives," told marchers their presence matters, "especially when those in power seem to have turned their backs on reason and justice."

    Portman, an Academy Award winner, talked about feeling sexualized by the entertainment industry from the time her first film, "Leon: The Professional," was released when she was 13 and suggested it's time for "a revolution of desire." In the 1994 film, Portman played a young girl taken in by a hit man after her family is killed.

    Woodard urged everyone to register and vote, saying, "the 2018 midterms start now," echoing many speakers at marches across the country, who urged women to vote.

    More than 200,000 people filled Chicago's Grant Park to inspire women and others to be active in politics. Speakers, including several prominent Chicago politicians and activists, and performers, including the cast of Hamilton, took the stage as women held signs and chanted.

    Scores of demonstrators turned out in Cambridge, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Francisco and San Diego, as well as Toronto and Tanzania.

    Earlier Saturday, dozens of activists gathered in Rome to denounce violence against women and express support for the #MeToo movement. They were joined by Italian actress and director Asia Argento, who made headlines after alleging in 2017 she had been sexually assaulted by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in the 1990s.

    Argento addressed the criticism she received once she spoke up about her abuse.

    "Women are scared to speak, and because I was vilified by everything I said, I was called a prostitute for being raped," she said at the rally.

    Frederica Bocco attended the rally in Rome and called Argento a "lioness," saying she made marchers feel "safe and loved" with her message.

    "She was so angry and yet so gentle at the same time," Bocco told NBC in a Twitter message. "She had the fierceness of a lioness protecting her cubs when she spoke of the swines like Weinstein ... that ruin women’s lives. Because it’s not only about rape, it’s in the ideology that men like them perpetrate, where the body of a woman is an object."

    Bocco described the "power and significance" of the women's marches that filled streets around the world and drew international attention.

    "All of us can look around and see that whatever we are going through, whatever we have endured, we are not alone," she said. "And if we unite we can create change that will make this a better world."

    Argento, who's 42, was strongly criticized by many Italian media and Italian women for not speaking out earlier and was hounded on Twitter with accusations that she sought trouble.

    Weinstein has apologized for causing "a lot of pain" with "the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past," but he has denied "any allegations of non-consensual sex."