Womxn’s March in Denver Draws an Estimated 80,000 Protesters
Protesters sang, danced and chanted as they gathered Saturday in downtown Denver. They carried signs, several of which expressed their support of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Long live the Queen,” read one sign. “You can’t handle the RBG,” read another.
“She’s still breathing,” said Sheila Robinson, 67, of Denver, when another person holding an “RBG” sign walked past where she sat on the steps, watching speakers and others take the stage in Civic Center.
It was the retired teacher’s third time attending the women’s march. She wore an animal print hat covered in pins, which showed support for former President Barack Obama and for the potential teachers’ strike in Denver.
“I like the expansion of inclusiveness for more and more ideologies being protested,” Robinson said.
Despite the controversies the movement has faced, about 80,000 protesters turned up for the Womxn’s March, according to an early crowd estimate from organizers. Last year, about 100,000 people attended the Denver march.
Many participants traveled from Boulder, boarding buses that left from the YWCA of Boulder County on 14th Street in Boulder, early in the morning.
This year, as protesters assembled, the event had a new name: Womxn’s March. It’s part of a rebranding effort by the Denver chapter following criticisms — local and national — of lack of representation at marches. There also have been allegations of anti-semitism.
Last year, the national women’s march movement faced criticism for some of its leaders’ connections to Louis Farrakhan. The local chapter issued a issued a statement denouncing anti-Semitism, and national leaders have refuted claims that the movement supports Farrakhan.
Saturday was a sunny but cold day. Snow, which lingered from Friday’s storm, had turned icy by the time marchers set off on their one-mile route. The march was sandwiched between two rallies, which brought a variety of dancers, singers and speakers in front of the crowd.
“We’re here today to listen, unite and act,” said Regan Byrd, one of the emcees during the first rally.
Byrd’s words matched with the theme of this year’s event: “Listen to those who have been silenced. Unite under the banner of anti-oppression. Act with intention.”
As they walked, the protesters chanted. “My body, my choice,” they said. “Hey, hey, ho, ho Donald Trump has got to go,” could be heard echoing through the crowd.
Zoey Sherry, 33, of Broomfield, said she thinks feminists sometimes don’t include people of color, which is why she carried a sign reading “End White Supremacy” and “Black Lives matter.”
“I believe my America supports diversity,” Sherry said.
Many protesters brought their dogs with them, including the Lewis family from Boulder. Wendy Lewis, 45, attended the march with her husband and two children, ages 10 and 11. The family also brought their toy Australian shepherd, Keymit, who wore a sign that said “I would make a BETTER President!”
“I did want my kids to see that through protests you can make a difference in the world,” she said.
Many of the protesters’ signs were critical of President Donald Trump and his policies, including his push to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. One or two also criticized the federal government shutdown.
Alex Lotze, 24, of Denver, took a different approach and held a sign that highlighted the lack of women in leadership positions in business, Congress and state politics.
“I am here because women are under-represented,” she said.