Last Saturday, the square in front of Kamloops City Hall filled with approximately 200 protesters, who gathered to show solidarity with the Women’s March movement.
Originating in Washington, D.C., more than a million people turned out across the globe, from Buenos Aires to New Delhi, to protest the election of Donald Trump and speak up for human rights. These women’s marches grew from a global grassroots movement of people looking for an outlet for their political discontent. The movement is based on Martin Luther King’s principles of non-violent activism.
In a press release, the national Women’s March organizers called for all political parties to prioritize health care, economic security, representation and security for all people, regardless of gender or ability or race or sexual orientation.
This diversity was represented by the Kamloops crowd of protesters, including everyone from infants to grandmothers. Many were wearing the pink ‘pussyhats’ which have become symbols of the movement, inspired by President Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” comment.
“We just wanted some way to show that we do not support [Trump’s politics]. We believe in equality and unity and solidarity and diversity,” Frye said.
The organizers also expressed surprise at the size of the turnout, as the event was “very last minute.”
“It just goes to show how many people are unhappy with the hate speech,” Frye said.
The march began with a moment of silence. Next, there were several speakers, including B.C. NDP candidates Nancy Bepple and Barbara Nederpel.
Bepple’s message reminded the crowd that while events further south triggered this protest, there is still work to be done in B.C.
“[The government] set the legislation that guarantees our rights, but we are the ones who have to fight for it again and again and again,” she said.
Bepple went on to cite examples of historical wins for women, like equal pay and reproductive rights, saying “these things didn’t happen on their own.”
“We protest today because we know that these gains are in danger of being destroyed,” Nederpel said. She questioned the desirability of Trump’s campaign promise to “make America great again,” pointing out that from the perspective of minority groups, a return to an outdated climate of increased misogyny and racial tension is a real fear.
All speakers emphasized the need to band together to create political change, and to continue the conversation started by the march.
As put by Charlene Eden, KSAAC agency coordinator, “When we’re divided, patriarchy wins.”