Taking A Stand
The Women’s March returns to the Big Easy
In the wake of the 2017 political climate, 2.6 million people gathered Jan. 21, 2017, nationwide to march for women’s rights. New Orleans saw more than 10 thousand people. Exactly one year later, on the crowded steps of Duncan Plaza in New Orleans, thousands of women and men gathered again to protest the president and the inequalities that women continually face.
An array of posters with anti-Trump and pro-women themes – like “I am woman hear me roar,” “boys for girl power” and “favorite ice cream, impeach mint” – could be seen among the sea of people. There were some marchers that dressed themselves up in Carnival-like costumes, others like the handmaids from Hulu’s “The Handmaid's Tale,” a Roman soldier with President Trump’s head on a spike and many more creative ensembles.
The march opened with a collection of speakers that included mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell; Louisiana House State Representative Helena Moreno; Jenny Yanez, host of NOLA Matters: Islam in the Crescent City and member of NOLA Matters; and many more. Each focused on shedding light on a specific topic of their choice.
“We all must continue to stand together, one year ago we emerged on Duncan Plaza we walked through the streets of New Orleans demanding that the rights of women be upheld to the highest level,” said Cantrell in her opening statement. “We stood tall and with one voice we resisted, and we will continue to resist as those who do walk and live and breathe this precious air that we all breathe but what we have seen is that not all are united in the vision that we all have the right to be respected we all the right to love and to be love.”
Though the march brings to the forefront many negative issues that women are facing, it also brought out some of the positive advances women have made in the last year.
“We now have more women running for office than ever before,” said Moreno. “When it comes to the house of representatives, we have 390 women planning to run in this election cycle, more than ever in American history.”
Last year saw the start of the women’s march, as men and women across the nation came together for a variety of reasons. Some are there because of the inequality of pay of women, others are there for the growing number of sexual assaults in the country. Since its inception, the reasons behind marching have changed. Last year was a common reaction to President Trump’s being elected, inaugurated and moved into the White House.
“This year is about taking action,” said Angela Adkins, the New Orleans march organizer.
“We encourage everyone to find an issue they are passionate about, find a group doing advocacy on that issue and join them and help create change,”
This year’s march started at Duncan Plaza on Jan. 20 at 12 p.m. It continued through Rampart Street to the French Quarter, up Poydras Street and ending back again at Duncan Plaza.
It was a good, empowering day all around; and if there were any protesters, they kept themselves tucked away from the march.
“Women can advance, women can lead,” said Cantrell. “But we can do it where we uplift women and equity as we grow and as we move.”