A smaller but determined crowd attends the 2018 Boston-Cambridge Women’s March
If the theme behind last year’s Boston Women’s March was one of symbolic defiance and solidarity, this year’s message focused on resolve, resilience, and the tactical groundwork of electoral politics.
Though smaller than the city’s 2017 gathering, which drew about 175,000 people, the estimated 10,000 people who showed up on Cambridge Common on Saturday displayed no shortage of enthusiasm or energy. Long before the event began, crowds of pink pussy-hat wearing women, men, and children poured out of the Harvard Square subway stop and into the soggy and muddy park.
They posed for photographs and selfies, signed petitions, and complemented each other’s posters. (Like last year, the signs were great: DUST SETTLES, GIRLS DON’T; WE ARE THE GRANDDAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHES WHO DIDN’T BURN; WATCH OUT, I CAN VOTE IN SIX YEARS; and, a crowd favorite, 8-year-old Tallula Sullivan’s homemade TRUMP IS A STUPID BUTTHEAD.
Prior to the official start of the rally, a choir and a marching band entertained the crowd—there was a giant pink pussy hat on the tuba—while stirring people could be overheard lamenting President Donald Trump’s behavior. They talked about programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both of which are front and center in the heated debate over the federal government shutdown. They spoke about the importance of winning Democratic majorities in the US Senate and Congress in November, and about the need to address major systemic issues like race, sex, and gender discrimination.
“I’m here because I believe strongly in equality for all people, and because I’ve been extremely concerned at a lot of the actions of the current administration,” Medford resident Kassandra Howard told DigBoston. “From the tax bill, attempts to ban immigrants, rolling back rights for LGBTQ people, removing protection for transgender youth—just basically everything this administration has done has been an attack on the American people.”
As the rally officially began around 1pm, the crowd clustered around a podium erected in front of the Civil War memorial.
“This is our movement, this is the movement, and we’re not going to be hopeless because that would strengthen the agenda of the bigots,” State Rep. Marjorie Decker said, vowing to continue fighting for the rights of minorities in Mass. “Government should be for the people, by the people, and not just some of the people.”
People erupted with applause.
Of all the speakers, none riled up the crowd more than Attorney General Maura Healey. Wearing a black shirt that read, “The Future is Female,” Healey tore into Trump and highlighted the many federal lawsuits her office has pursued against his administration.
“He’s an embarrassment to this country and he’s certainly no role model for our young girls,” Healey said. “I’m suing him because what he’s doing is illegal, and you better believe it, it’s un-American.”
With the background noise of people chanting “Times up! Times up!” the AG smiled, paused, and yelled into the microphone: “We’re still here, we’re still marching, and we’re still winning.”
“We came [to the Boston Women’s March] last year and it was a really positive experience for all of us,” Deb Sullivan of Roslindale said. “I think this year’s is just as significant—it doesn’t have to be an enormous gathering, but it needs to happen every year for as long as it needs to happen.”
Saturday’s rally was organized by the January Coalition, a diverse group of local “justice and peace organizations” opposed to what they see as the Trump administration’s agenda of “systematically eroding the rights of women and other marginalized people, dismantling and destroying our democracy, and putting the entire world at risk.”
“The energy here is good,” said Rosemary Berkeley, a woman standing on a bench and looking out at the entire crowd. “The crowd size last year was a surprise—it was very triumphant… But this year, I feel resolve. I think we realize what we’re up against and we’ve got to get down to work for November.”