Both women and men rallied together in Nashville in the 2018 Women’s March on Saturday.
Marchers were in almost every major city, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Nashville, filling the cities with homemade signs and chants. Anti-protesters also showed up at the march with signs that encouraged protesters to “repent or pay for the price of their sins.”
Among the crowd in Nashville was Megan Roberts, a Lipscomb senior and founder of the “Lipscomb Feminist Club.”
“It is so much more than a political stance,” Roberts said. “It’s about a human stance; we will not tolerate sexual harassment, assault or any form of oppression anymore. We shouldn’t even have to be fighting for this.”
Last year was the first Women’s March in Nashville. By 2 p.m. yesterday, downtown Nashville was colored with signs that read such declarations as: “Today we march, tomorrow we run for office,” and “Grab them by the ballot box.” Pink balloons with the phrase “Nevertheless I persisted” printed on them also covered the skyline. With the focus now on the importance of voting and using the power of choice, many protesters registered to vote by the end of the march. Susanne Burger, a protester from New York, reaffirmed her belief of the importance of this factor in making a change.
“Marching builds a sense of empowerment, and hopefully that will carry over to voter registration and a persistent effort to turn this around because this is not acceptable,” Burger said. Her sign gave the same message — “How to survive Trumpism: stay informed, be vigilant, take action, VOTE.”
Chants of the marchers echoed through the sea of people in downtown Nashville — “This is what democracy looks like,” and “No hate! No Fear! Immigrants are welcome here!”
Ann-Laurence Johnson was another protester and Nashville local who marched on Saturday and said she came in response to her anger.
“I am here because lots of things are making me angry,” Johnson said. “There’s strength in numbers, and it’s good to be around men and women that are also angry.”
Tennessee State University’s Avon Williams Campus downtown hosted the pre-march festivities. The opening session was at 9 a.m. and was followed by 30 minutes of mediation in the school’s auditorium. After this, the panels and workshop sessions were offered in classrooms throughout the afternoon, ending in a catered lunch before the actual rally. Darlene Leong-Neals served as the state coordinator for Women’s March Tennessee.
“Last year was this spontaneous expression of dissatisfaction and also pain,” Leong-Neal said. “This year’s march is more intentional. We’re more strategic. We have a goal.”
Photos by Anna Rogers