Hundreds of thousands of people of diverse races, ethnicities, and backgrounds and ages filled the streets of midtown Manhattan, marching from the United Nations headquarters along 42nd Street and up Fifth Avenue in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. According to a statement from the Mayor’s office, more than 400,000 people participated in the march Jan. 21, while organizers of the Women’s March on NYC put the tally closer to 600,000. A record number of 670 marches were held on Jan 21 in 50 states of the U.S. and 32 countries, delivering a single message of humanity.
Signs throughout the crowd bore messages including “we the people are greater than fear” and “women’s rights are human rights”.
Simran Prajapati, a 17-year-old high school senior from South Brunswick, New Jersey, r 12-year-old sister and her mother, said she was surprised by the sheer masses that attended the march. “I knew it was going to be big, but I had no idea that it could escalate into this big movement,” she told Desi Talk. “It was not just women who marched, but there were almost 40 percent men and young kids as well as senior citizens,” she said. “The way the people mobilized together and were watching out for each other, and the way the protests were carried in a peaceful manner, is unprecedented,” her mother, Jignasha Mehta, chimed in. “I am so proud that my girls and I could be part of this historic event, protesting for equal rights, women’s rights and civil rights,” she continued, adding, that it was a “massive boost of optimism to see the number of children being shown how to stand on the right side of history.”
In a photograph on her Facebook page, New York City-based Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology, is seen with her son and her husband joining her at the Washington, D.C., march. “Grateful to have these two who are equally committed to the fight for gender equity,” she wrote. “We proved that we will not be silenced and the women’s movement is alive and well. We will continue to rise up.”
Protesters rallied in and around Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer telling the crowd, “We don’t like that guy in the White House … we are not kidding,” AM New York reported. Other politicians and celebrities who spoke included the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), and city Comptroller Scott Stringer, as well as actresses Cynthia Nixon, Whoopi Goldberg and Helen Mirren.
Marchers had planned to take their rally cries — messages on signs included “I’m here for my future” and “love trumps hate” — to the doors of Trump Tower, but police stopped them south of the building on East 55th Street, the AM New York report said.
Parul Patel of Chatham, New Jersey, told Desi Talk that she had never participated in a march or a protest where a statement was being made. Calling the march an “incredible” experience, Patel told Desi Talk that inspite of the magnitude, the march was held in a “peaceful and civilized way.” The march, coordinated at a global level, made a powerful statement, she said.