On Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held the new administration’s first press briefing to spin like his life depended on it. As two photos comparing the size between presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s inauguration made the rounds online, many concluded that the new commander in chief’s ceremony drew a sparser crowd. Spicer, however, told the media that they were full of it. “Inaccurate numbers involving the crowd size were also tweeted. No one had numbers, because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any out,” he said. “… This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe.”
The same day that Spicer accused the media of “sowing division,” more than 470,000 descended on Washington DC to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. During his presidential campaign, Trump made incendiary comments about communities of color and threatened to take away protections – like women’s reproductive rights and laws safeguarding LGBTQ rights – and Saturday’s march was in direct response to what his administration stands for. With a focus on intersectionality, police brutality, and economic and racial justice, an estimated three times as many people attended the Women’s March than the inauguration, according to crowd scientists.
Though the New York Times reports that many variables can affect the crowd scientists’ estimates, it’s indisputable that train ridership was far higher the day after the inauguration than during Trump’s inauguration. A Metro official stated that riders took more than a million rail trips on Saturday, second only to Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. By comparison, 570,000 rail trips were taken on Friday – suggesting that more came out to oppose Trump than to support him. And with sister marches taking place concurrently across the United States (as well as the world), the Women’s March may be the biggest demonstration in the country’s history.
As one of the most attended marches of the weekend, the DC event wasn’t navigable at times. According to The New Yorker, access to the main routes was difficult, and the sheer volume of people overwhelmed cell phone service.
So when it came time for women like Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, and Linda Sarsour to impart their knowledge on the massive crowd, not everyone could get close enough to hear. And a lack of speakers meant that many missed their messages entirely. The event was far from perfect – transphobic signs were peppered throughout, one Native American woman explained how white women made her feel like a guest in her own country, and the march got off to a controversial start. But the words spoken at the Women’s March on Washington remain important to hear. With more than 40 speakers on Saturday, motivational speeches abounded. But here are four we suggest you begin with:
Sophie Cruz, Immigration Activist
“We are here together, making a chain of love to protect our families. Let us fight with love, faith, and courage, so that our families will not be destroyed. I also want to tell the children not to be afraid, because we are not alone.”
Check out the entire speech below:
America Ferrera, Actress
“We are gathered here and across the country and around the world today to say, ‘Mr. Trump, we refuse. We reject the demonization of our Muslim brothers and sisters,” she said. “We demand an end to the systemic murder and incarceration of our black brothers and sisters. We will not give up our right to safe and legal abortions. We will not ask our LGBTQ families to go backwards. We will not go from being a nation of immigrants, to a nation of ignorance.”
Watch the full speech below:
Erika Andiola, Political Director for People’s Revolution
“I want to tell you about November 8th of 2016, a day of horror for millions and millions of families across the country who are undocumented. That day I get a call from the most precious person in my life, my mother. And she tells me, ‘Erika, what’s going to happen? I am afraid.’ And this is coming form a woman who would never show a sign of weakness. A woman who, when she was hit over and over again by my own father, never a showed a sign of weakness to us. This is a woman who decided to leave the country that she was raised and born in through the desert with her children, and never showed a sign of weakness. The same woman who was in my house when I accidentally opened the door to ICE and was taken. And even in handcuffs, in front of me and my family, she looked at me in the eye and said, ‘It’s going to be OK. I’m going to be fine.’… I said to her, ‘You know what mami, you are not alone.’ There’s millions of people who will be there, who will fight for you, and who will fight for millions of others who right now feel a threat because of everything that our current president said about you and about millions of others.”
Watch the entire speech below:
Wendy Carrillo, Human Rights Journalist
“I was an undocumented child that fled war from El Salvador. I’m an unrecognized refugee of this country. During the Salvadoran civil war, my mother sought refuge in the US, and she was denied under incredible violence. She was refused but she came anyway… I am here because of her courage and the sacrifices of my biological father, who paid with his life, so that other people could have the right to vote.”
Watch the entire speech below: