March organizers estimate that close to 200,000 people gathered Denver Saturday morning to participate in the Women’s March on Denver. While officially scheduled to begin at 9.30 a.m. at Civic Center park, the start of the march was delayed due to greater that expected attendance. Initial estimates of 40,000 marchers are now being revised upwards. Police confirmed 100,000 people Saturday but event organizers and people on the ground estimate the figure to be closer to 200,000. (Scroll to bottom of page for photos)
The 1.3 mile march to “support social justice, human rights and equality, and to demonstrate that we will be vigilant in protecting these rights moving forward,” headed east down 15th Street and wrapped back toward the park via Champa, Welton and then 14th streets.
Liza Saffo, a social worker from Denver, told KGNU’s Julia Caulfield that the election of Donald Trump betrays the central ideas of the United States, social justice and equality. She is nervous that all of Obama’s work over the past eight years will be undone, nd she is unwilling to sit by and watch it happen.
“I hope we get out here and continue to do this every day, honestly, not just today. What I hope for is a really strong message to Donald Trump and this administration, and the world that we’re not just going to sit around idle like America tends to do, we’re going to get up and do something about it.”
Saffo was one of many who feels the current administration does not represent their beliefs and values.
Avery Schiff is worried what President Trump’s nominations for the Supreme Court could do for trans rights.
“I think that we’re going to be set back enormously by Trump’s Supreme Court choices, because there’s going to be at least one high profile Supreme Court case regarding bathroom rights in Virginia this summer, and given a Republican White House and Congress, I think that things look very bleak for that case, and probably for any future cases within the next five years.”
She hopes that the marches will show clearly that the majority of American are not comfortable with the current government. Schiff came to the march in Denver with her partner, Sasha Georges, they say that as a rape survivor, they are unwilling to let their voice be stifled.
“The most important thing is that our voices are heard, and that no matter what, we don’t just go quietly into the night, and people know that we’re here, and that they’re not going to be able to do whatever they want quietly, and without resistance.”
Still, the atmosphere of the event seemed more hopeful than disheartening. Luisa Bolanos is originally from Mexico, but has lived in the United States for 35 years. She raised her children here and says she is proud to be Mexican-American, and hopes President Trump is a president for all. She says that while there are difficulties ahead for our country, it’s worth standing up for those without a voice.
“Well, it’s going to be hard, but we can do it, we are MexiCAN, so we can do it.”
Justine Sandoval, a community organizer for NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, a woman’s health advocacy group, says that this march is just the beginning and she hopes people continue to stay involved.
“I think I hope that people are inspired and people see that this is our government, and when we come out and we demand what we want as a nation, that they’re going to hear us, and I hope that people really get inspired and it keeps them going to keep working for the next four years. I mean, we’re just starting.”
Sky Roosevelt-Morris, marching with the American Indian Movement of Colorado, says she hopes that the large turnout for the march in Denver helps others to recognize the importance of standing with Native peoples.
“We’re hoping to raise awareness and so when we come out, and we do marches for Native women, missing and murdered women…that people have seen us come out for this, and that maybe they’ll in kind want to get more involved with Native issues because we’re standing on Cheyenne and Arapahoe land, and had it not been for the displacement of the Cheyenne’s and Arapahoe’s, than the city of Denver itself would not exist.”
Kristen Arigoni, one of the organizers of the March, says they originally expected around 40,000 to come to the event. She says that while they were amazed by the large turnout, simply showing up for the march isn’t enough.
“There are three parts to a demonstration, there’s the planning it, there’s the day of, and then there’s the question of how do we keep this momentum going in the long term? Part of the strategy is that we have a lot of state representatives who are here and what I would say to anyone is that what you need to do is figure out who your state representatives are, find out what bills they’re fighting, because those bills that they’re fighting at the local level are the most important to understand for your life.”
Following the march, there was a rally in Civic Center Park. Arigoni says a diverse group of speakers and performers–from legislators to activists–were chosen to help insure the event was as inclusive as possible.
Rachel Harding, chairperson of Veterans of Hope, a nonviolent social justice organization, says that she hopes the March helps people recognize their commonality and allows people to address our histories and strive for better.
“Us working through the challenges, the difficulties, the traumas of our history which include a horrible history of white supremacy and at the same time recognize that we have other histories here as well. Histories that encourage us to be connected to each other, to believe in the potential for the United States of America to really be an example, a model of what a healthy, just, multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-lingual society can really be.”
The march in Denver was one of 674 around the world. The Women’s March on Washington has now launched a new campaign called 10 Actions for the First 100 Days, with the hopes of keeping marchers actively engaged in the first 100 days of the Trump administration.
KGNU preempted its regular programming until 1pm on Saturday January 21st to air Democracy Now’s coverage of the Women’s March On Washington in addition to coverage of the Denver March.
Images courtesy of Julia Caulfield, Susanne Stadlbauer, and Angela Maly
Scenes from Denver:
More images from the March: