The frosty wind bit at their cheeks. It froze their hands. Anne O’Leary of Mission, Kan., bundled in a thick coat and held her sign high above the crowd:
“Trump is Wrong About Everything.”
“I agree with her,” a nearby protestor said.
They, along with 500 to 600 others — primarily women, but men and children, too — gathered just before 2 p.m. Saturday inside of, and on the steps of, Unity Temple on the Plaza before taking off, marching in a long stream around the County Club Plaza for the Women’s March 2019.
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“What does democracy look like!” a leader chanted.
“This is what democracy looks like,” the throng repeated.
In January 2017, one day after Donald Trump took office as the 45th president of the United States, millions of women in cities throughout the U.S. and across the globe took to public streets and parks in protest of the inauguration of a president they criticized as sexist and with little regard for women’s or other minority rights.
On Saturday, thousands gathered in Washington D.C. and 100 or more other cities to reaffirm that message.
And it’s a message that has broadened to include the Trump administration’s policies regarding not just women, but all minorities and immigrants, the desire to build a wall across the southern border of the U.S., the government shutdown, the confirmation of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, and worries about the possible dismantling of Roe v. Wade and legalized abortion.
“He’s not a friend to women,” protestor Pat VanBebber said of Trump. She and two friends from Lee’s Summit said they have been advocating for women’s rights for decades. They were there to continue the fight.
Protesters hoisted signs reading “No Wall,” “Stop the Shutdown,” “Equal Rights = Equal Pay,” “A Woman’s Place is in the Protest” and “I Fight like a Girl”.
“I’m kind of worried about abortion rights right now,” said Alesha Pisciotta, 25, who joined the march with her friend, Briana Anderson, 24. Anderson was there to provide a voice for women in science and technology.
Organizers, in promoting the march, emphasized that it was formed to help bring equality to all marginalized people.
“Over the past year, basic rights for women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, the religious and nonreligious, people of color and even Mother Earth have struggled to survive under the weight of the current administration,” the organizers wrote. “America’s First Amendment has been challenged, and healthcare for millions has been threatened. We must stand together to demand and defend our rights. Let your voice echo throughout Kansas City and show the world that red, white and blue are colors of tolerance.”
O’Leary said that the issues that made her protest two years, and even in the decades prior, have not lessened.
“I’m looking for that equality, that fairness,” she said. “It hasn’t happened. I need to keep working.”