Women’s March on Washington, Boston, around the World

BU women—and men—join in DC, Hub events

Tiffani Lewis-Lockhart, Ann Cudd, and Nancy Geourntas holding sign

Tiffani Lewis-Lockhart, CAS administrative coordinator (from left), Ann Cudd, dean of Arts & Sciences, and Nancy Geourntas, CAS executive assistant, at the Women’s March on Washington, January 21, 2017. Photo by Cydney Scott

January 24, 2017
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When 24-year-old Tiffani Lewis-Lockhart piled out of a cab with her boss and a coworker near Independence Mall in Washington, D.C., Saturday morning to join the Women’s March on Washington, she found herself in a river of humanity.

“I said, ‘This is real, this is happening,’” Lewis-Lockhart, the College of Arts & Sciences administrative coordinator and the Brooklyn-born daughter of two police officers, recalled afterward. “There were people everywhere. The farther we walked, the more and more people we saw. I just didn’t realize how big it was going to be. It completely blew my mind. It was so powerful to be there. I’ve never been a part of anything like that before. It felt like you were a part of history.”

As they merged with the throngs of people, carrying their red “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” banner overhead, Lewis-Lockhart said, the despondency and sense of isolation that had taken hold of her amid the ugliness of the presidential campaign at last began to lift. “If you have a million people who are saying, ‘We’re all in it together, we’re not going to let it just happen, we’re not going to be silent, we’re not going to let it be normalized,’” she said, “it changes things.”

March participants on flatbed truck

Washington march participants listen to march rally speakers from the corner of Independence Way and L’Enfant Plaza SW. Photo by Cydney Scott

That message resounds through the reflections of the numerous BU students, faculty, and staff BU Today spoke to who had joined that river of humanity. Whether they marched in Washington, Boston, New York, San Jose, Sydney, or Seoul, participants told of coming away exhilarated, empowered, changed. They were there to rally in support of issues they felt were threatened under the new Trump administration, from women’s health and reproductive rights to LGBTQ rights to immigration and climate change. Rainbow flags were flown beside leaders mustering around the need for clean drinking water.

A part-time College of Communication student hoping to enroll in a graduate program next fall, Lewis-Lockhart said that as an African American woman, she had gone out of her way during the presidential campaign to speak carefully and cautiously about politics, but that she found her voice at Saturday’s event. “I try to be very careful to make sure I’m not offending anyone. I think sometimes that makes me silent,” she said. “I’m trying not to do that anymore. Now I know I’m going to get supported if I say something isn’t right.”

The other women hoisting the red banner with Lewis-Lockhart were her boss, Ann Cudd, dean of Arts & Sciences, and Nancy Geourntas, executive assistant to the dean. Several weeks earlier, Cudd had invited the two women to join her at the march.

crowd of marchers title=signs left under a White House directional
marchers on the White House ellipse

Women’s March on Washington: Some of the hundreds of thousands who gathered in the nation’s capital during Saturday’s march (top left). Signs left under a White House directional at a Washington, D.C., Metro station by participants after the march (top right). Marchers on the Ellipse, near the White House (bottom). Photos by Cydney Scott

“I felt like I stood up and was counted,” Cudd said after the event. “I’m just another citizen. Democracy takes all of us citizens to stand up and be counted. How can you not be against racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia? How can you not be for standing up against those things?”

Also at the Washington event was Morgan Farrar (CAS’20), marching with her mother, Erin Farrar, who flew to Washington from her home in Dayton, Ohio. Her grandmother, meanwhile, marched in Madison, Wisc., and many of Farrar’s BU classmates marched in Boston. “I’ve never been with so many people who felt the same way I do about women’s rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights,” she said. “There was so much love and support and kindness. At one point I had to get from one side of the crowd to the other. I thought it would be hard, but it was so simple—I just said, ‘Excuse me,’ and it was like the Red Sea parting.”

On Monday, Farrar was still trying to grasp the magnitude of what had happened all over the world on Saturday. “I can’t even fathom it, that there were more than a million people,” she said. “It’s history. It’s such an emotional and amazing feeling to have—it’s that you did something. The whole point of the march is that it’s a first step. This is the collective voice of people not only in the United States, but all over the world who want to be represented in a way they’ve earned since—I don’t know—since the beginning of time. To have a part in that, it’s mind-blowing.”

Rev. Mariama Hammond-White

Rev. Mariama White-Hammond (STH’17), an activist and member of the ministerial staff at Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain, was among the speakers at Saturday’s Boston Women’s March for America. Photo by Jen Myronuk

In Boston, an estimated 175,000 on the Common

At the Boston Women’s March for America, activist and ordained minister Mariama White-Hammond (STH’17) was one of the key speakers. “We’re going to have a lot of work to do after this,” White-Hammond said after the march. “It’s not about showing up at one big march, it’s about the work we need to do in our communities. We had a transformative leader—Barack Obama—and we didn’t show up. I definitely did stuff, but I didn’t wake up and say, ‘For the next eight years we have a president who actually gives a crap about people, and I should be organizing like I never have before.’ We didn’t give him the cover he needed. We didn’t ask, how can we together transform America—we expected him to do it… We should have done more.”

Saturday, said White-Hammond, the daughter of the Rev. Gloria White- Hammond, M.D. (CAS’72, Hon.’09) and the Rev. Ray Hammond, M.D. (Hon’99), was a new beginning.

Andrea Foster and marchers behind herJeffrey Santos and BU marcher
Sarah Ferree and fellow students holding sign

Boston Women’s March for America: Andrea Foster (MED’19) (center) was among dozens of BU School of Medicine students marching (top left). Jeffrey Santos (MED’19) (wearing glasses), another BU marcher (top right). Sarah Ferree (MED’19) (left, holding sign) with fellow students (bottom). Photos by Jackie Ricciardi

“I feel really lucky to be here,” said Sarah Ferree (MED’19), who was among the estimated 175,000 who gathered on the Boston Common for Saturday’s march. “There are so many people that care about so many causes, and from so many different backgrounds.”

Ferree, a student leader of Medical Students for Choice, an international nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that all medical students have access to abortion education and training, marched alongside fellow students, who, like her, wore their white medical coats and carried a MED banner. They were not alone—women’s health and the right to choose were frequent highlights of speakers and marchers in Washington, Boston, and the other marches held worldwide Saturday. Many signs carried messages like “My Body, My Choice, My Right” and “Girls Just Wanna Have FUNding for Planned Parenthood.”

Marchers in Boston

The Boston march drew a crowd estimated at 175,000 people. Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

Numerous BU faculty attended the Boston march as well, among them Christopher Martell, a School of Education clinical assistant professor, who said that “as a white, straight male,” he wanted to attend to send a message of solidarity, to say that “women’s issues are not only issues for women.” Martell and his wife felt it was important to bring their young daughters to the historic gathering. “Since this is a woman-led rally, I wanted my daughters to be a part of it, even if their memories may be limited,” he said.

Boston Medical Center staff members holding

Pediatrics department faculty, residents, and staff marching at the Boston march. Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

Also marching was Carrie Preston, a CAS professor of English, Kilachand Honors College director, and former director of BU’s Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, who came with her mother and her husband and children. “I found it tremendously inspiring,” Preston said after the march. “There were so many people—it was a rainbow of colors across the Common…

“I think it was a one-day moment that many of us will remember for a very long time, and I think people around the world will say, ‘What were you doing on January 21?

Ian Evans can be reached at ianevans@bu.edu

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Women’s March on Washington, Boston, around the World

  • Sara Rimer

    Senior Contributing Editor

    Sara Rimer

    Sara Rimer spent 26 years as a reporter at the New York Times, where she wrote about education, the death penalty, immigration, and aging in America, and was the New England bureau chief. The Times nominated her for the Pulitzer Prize. Her coverage of the death penalty was cited by the Supreme Court in its 2002 ruling outlawing the execution of developmentally disabled individuals. Profile

  • Ian Evans

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There are 26 comments on Women’s March on Washington, Boston, around the World

    1. Agreed, I saw may a picture of the aftermath of these marches.

      Also, the article repeatedly mentioned that they were marching for “women’s rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights” but I did not see much of anything that gave me a firm understanding of what or how those rights are being threatened.

      What women’s rights was BMC Pediatrics there to support?

      1. The Vice President of the United States believes in conversion therapy and using electric shock on LGBTQ people to try to make us heterosexual. Do you really think the policies of this administration are going to maintain our rights when the VP thinks we should basically be experimented on?

        The global gag rule on abortion almost certainly means that women will die because they are not able to have access to care. The global gag rule means that providers will need to choose between receiving funding or providing care because when you are not allowed to even say the word abortion, what happens when someone comes in with an ectopic pregnancy? That woman may die without an abortion. And now the global gag rule once again says that providers will lose funding for even uttering the word abortion. Those women will literally lose their LIVES.

        Defunding planned parenthood is going to have the same effect on women – when we cannot access critical care around reproductive health, it leads to women dying. And the stupid thing? Federal funding doesn’t even provide abortions. It just doesn’t. It provides essential medical care and abortions are covered through separate donations. So defunding it just means women won’t have access to cancer screenings, Pap smears, pelvic exams, and birth control (and not even necessarily as contraceptive but as a medical treatment for a number of diseases including Polycystic ovary syndrome).

        Women will literally die because of policies like the ones this new administration is trying to put in place.

        1. Ruby, your passion is wonderful. I’m concerned about some of your points though, like this one: “The Vice President of the United States believes in conversion therapy and using electric shock on LGBTQ people…” there is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, once the RFRA in Indiana was construed into an “anti-gay bill” he immediately sought out a solution to remedy the misunderstanding. -Since the RFRA was created off the back of the ObamaCare vs. Hobby Lobby case, NOT Christian rights over LGBT.-

          This statement as well: “The global gag rule on abortion almost certainly means that women will die…” That’s pretty extreme. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable births, ever. This wouldn’t be an abortion, this would be a life saving operation. There is a massive difference between convenient abortions and life saving operations. Estimates show that over 1 million abortions take place in the USA annually and less than 3% of all abortions are performed to save the life of the mother.

          No administration is attempting to defund woman’s programs. The media is selling this and it needs to be thoroughly investigated. Abortions are a multi-million dollar industry which people are defending under the disguise of “women’s rights”.

          1. “No administration is attempting to defund woman’s programs.” Really? What about the executive order Trump signed on Monday reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which bars international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving US government funding? What about defunding Planned Parenthood?

            Recognizing that a woman has agency over her body to choose her own medical procedures is most certainly a women’s right. People may not like her choice, but it is, in fact, her choice. There is much more involved to life than giving birth and bootstraps. There are many systems in place right now in America that provide the resources for life to truly thrive and simply expecting every woman AND man to miraculously rise to the occasion of parenthood is magical thinking, at best, and dangerous at worst.

  1. Conspiracy theories about Trump are a disgraceful perversion of representative democracy. “Racism,” “Sexism,” “Xenophobia,” “Homophobia” are not only false and ignorant accusations, but the rioting and destruction of property do nothing to combat any of them. There is no positive to any of these marches – it’s simply the disorderly refusal to engage contrary opinions – the very opposite of diversity and inclusion. And the refusal to allow pro-lifers to march as recognized groups underscores this exclusivity. Dressing as female genitalia to protest Trump’s “Access Hollywood” remarks seems at complete odds with the legitimate insistence of women not to be treated as sex objects. And of course, it begs the question as to whether a double standard exists when the same people were silent about known voracious sexual predator like Bill Clinton, who barely escaped an aggravated rape prosecution. These protests all have the same horrifying undercurrent: the opinions of political conservatives are evil, and their influence must be exterminated. 60 million people who voted Trump would be barely tolerable to these protestors if Trump lost the election; but since Trump won, these protestors are trying to upend the entire basis of democracy: the need for respectful dialogue, the rule of law, government working through fairly elected representatives, and above all, accepting it when your neighbors outvote you.

    Especially in Massachusetts, local protestors have the ability to work in the fashion appointed to us in the Constitution – our representatives. That’s how it works – the whole Massachusetts delegation is sure to fight Trump tooth and nail on everything, even if he proposed a resolution commending the sun for rising every day. This is representative democracy. But the rest of the country has no less right to its representation and sometimes the rest of the country will win.

    Ruby’s points about Planned Parenthood are another key part of the puzzle. “Women’s March” organizers admitted the primary purpose was to try to demonstrate support for funding Planned Parenthood. Here, again, is refusal to accept the substantial majority of our American neighbors who don’t want PP funding. It’s hardly worth engaging the other talking points except to point out that Planned Parenthood has not a single US facility with a mammogram, and only five among the 41 provide any sort of prenatal care – meaning PP is not really about “choice” at all: it’s about abortion.

    Throughout the interviews of marchers, what comes up is only one common idea: a President elected in accordance with the Constitution is somehow the enemy of everything good and just and pure. Sadly, that attitude attacks democracy’s critical insistence on equality.

    1. Rioting & destruction of property? There’s so little of that in recent protests that they’re simply more right-wing alternative “facts.” The peaceful vast majority of protesters roundly condemn the small minority of disruptive participants.

      On Jan 21 I was on Boston Common with 175,000 of my closest friends. The mood was upbeat, cheerful, respectful. Even the police were happy to keep watch over such a peaceful event. Among the signs seen there, my favorite said “Trump is a Yankees fan” — a serious, serious charge in this part of the world!

      1. 230 Anti-Trumpers arrested on felony rioting in Washington, substantial damage to local DC businesses. 6 DC police officers injured. That’s the opposition to Trump. Was the women’s march “nicer”? Maybe, if you think pink hats suggesting female genitalia are nice, and the Globe said the Common was “awash” in them.

    2. I was in Ohio during this mass “?” march…I have to say there was no clear indication what was the purpose? I was asked by family members as well as friends-I was absolutely offended by the vulgarity from the so-called feminist outfits-yikes! Please!!! You will never represent me as a women!

  2. The elephant in the room is that 2.7 million more people voted for Mrs. Clinton than Donald Trump. Moreover, there is no evidence for the Trump claim that “millions” of votes were cast for her by undocumented illegal immigrants. The electoral college hurts our democracy and invalidates the notion of one person, one vote. This is a serious problem with enormous consequences that must be addressed.

    1. You say “there is no evidence for the Trump claim that “millions” of votes were cast for her by undocumented illegal immigrants”. Then why were the Democrats so adamant that we needed a recount?

      Also, without the voter ID, there is no way to provide the evidence for the massive voter fraud that I strongly believe to have taken place, especially in southern NH, Virginia, and other regions.

    2. Sad you don’t understand this election demonstrates exactly the wisdom of the Electoral College. The entire vote differential between Trump and Hillary in the NYC and LA popular vote accounts for the vote differential nationwide. By popular vote, these two cities would dominate the entire remainder of the country. And as in 2012, when you have counties with more votes counted than registered voters, anyone ought to be concerned. Whether it’s millions or thousands, any vote cast illegally diminishes legal votes.

  3. Thank you Sara for capturing these stories! As a women of color, it was very affirming to walk alongside a spectrum of people in Washington D.C.

    January 21, 2017 gave me hope and confirmed for me that I am not alone.

  4. I was able to march in Washington last weekend and was so grateful for the opportunity. It was awe-inspiring to be part of this historical moment, but we need to make sure the momentum continues. I hope the Women’s March is the beginning of a movement of watchful, active citizens. Thank you to BU Today and to Sara Rimer for covering it, and to my fellow BU staff who took a stand!

  5. I am a 1990 BU Engineering grad, and now live in Detroit area where I grew up. This is what I witnessed in the Washington DC march:
    Here’s the story I wanted to send with the pictures:

    My pussy hat carried the LWV button, as well as the ERA button.

    The bus ride was hard (from Detroit) – next time I am driving myself. We stopped twice and there were looong lines to bathrooms – many women used the men’s room. The poor bus drivers didn’t know what to do, as they had to use the urinals. The roads in Pennsylvania were windy and very foggy. But, we eventually got there and started to march toward the capital.

    They gave the count of the crowd in the mall at 500K, however, they did not count all of us in the streets that could not easily get into the mall. There were thousands on Pennsylvania Ave and every other street leading into the mall – we weren’t counted, so I know we were more than the 500K they are stating!

    I went to the Million Mom March and a Union March previously, and it is empowering. But I’ve never seen so many buses pulling in, as last Saturday. We walked the hour to the capital building in a long line, as the metro lines were too long. People were outside of their houses, cheering us on, holding signs, and inviting us in to use their bathrooms and get refreshments. There were many parades like this through the streets to the main parade in the mall.
    (The metro was way too crowded to stay in line: Metro officials announced that Saturday was the 2nd busiest day in the Washington subway system’s history, with 1,001,613 trips. More than 670 events nationwide.)

    The Transgender community was there in force, the LGBTQ groups, Muslim groups, pro-choice, pro-abortion, communist, young, the elderly in wheel chairs. It was amazing! The group I was in (5 of us) held hands as we went through the crowds, just so we wouldn’t lose each other.

    People were respectful of each other. One militant Christian group (in soldier uniforms) were arguing with an LGBTQ group, but it didn’t escalate. At one point, we tried to get to the white house, but there were so many there, that they blocked it off an put on riot gear. At the same time, they were helping people down from scaffolding and lights, saying, please get down so you don’t get hurt….no arrests! (This is when people were chanting – Whose House: Our House. Whose Streets – Our Streets!)

    It is wonderful and awesome that every continent in the world supported women that day!

    Some of the great chanting that happened:
    This is how Democracy started!!
    **************
    Girls: It’s my body Boys/Men: It’s their body
    ********************
    Whose House: Our House Whose Streets: Our Streets
    ***********************
    Songs: R-E-S-P-E-C-T,
    *************************
    Some great signs:
    Embolded and empowered
    You’re so Vain – you probably think this march is about you
    Bridges Not Walls
    Diversity and Inclusion
    I’m a Feminist
    No Muslim Registry
    We deserve Better
    Divide Not Hate
    ERA
    I carried one from Canton from a young black Muslim student (Khadega Mohammed): Unity begins with U-N-I!

    Lots of anti-Trump signs that spilled over from day before.
    LGBT Signs regarding marriage and equality. Even signs about conversion therapy not working:
    “I’ve been through failed conversion therapy – twice”

    Crowds were calm, and chanting. There were heated discussions among some groups, but no one physically fought or broke anything. I passed out ERA buttons that were handed out at the DNC convention. People watching was fascinating and it was surreal and awesome!

    What an experience!

    1. What on earth did you think was empowering about the “pussy hat”? My wife and many of the women I know thought it was horribly self-demeaning, just as bad as Trump’s comments.

  6. Dear Ann Marie,
    Thank you for this inspiring post. You traveled a long way from Detroit. Your description of the trip and the march is fantastic – you write beautifully. What do you do in Detroit? (I’m a U-Michigan grad and was an intern at the Detroit Free Press a million years ago).
    Thanks again for posting.
    Sara

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