Editor’s note: Salt Lake magazine interns Megan Skuster and Amy Whiting reported on the Women’s March on Main in Park City, the largest political demonstration in the history of the ski town. The pair reported from the center of the crowd of more than 8,000 that included a huge contingent of men (hundreds more protestors were trapped in traffic on the way to the march). Because the march conincided with the Sundance Film Festival, it was studded with stars, including Chelsea Handler, John Legend, Charlize Theron, Kristin Stewart, Laura Dern, Jennifer Beals, Kevin Bacon and Maria Bello.
Here are Skuster and Whiting’s impressions.
We woke up at 5am in a blizzard and slid through the canyon expecting to join a crowd of diverse protesters. We were surprised to find a powerful sense of friendship despite being in a sea of strangers. We didn’t expect to be handed a free beanie when one of us didn’t bring one. We didn’t expect to be given hand warmers from complete strangers just because we looked cold or receive emotional pep talks from our bus driver.
The Women’s March on Main reminded us, with soaking wet shoes and knotted hair, that solidarity with our fellow humans is not only about unifying as a crowd but also about reaching out as individuals. It is for this reason that we choose to focus on the individuals that participated today, and all their stories and faces and things that might get blurred in statistics and panoramas. There were crowds, parades, stomping and chants (“Fight like a Girl!”). The Women’s March demonstrated the good in people who already surround us, in snow banks or cubicles. For video, go here.
The March on Main was one of over 600 “Sisterhood Marches” in over 40 countries, led and inspired by the Women’s March on Washington. The more than one million marchers in the U.S. included people of all genders, ages, sexualities, ethnicities and political backgrounds. The official platform includes reproductive rights, LGBT+ equality and (of course) gender equality. These marches were meant to foster a sense of community and empowerment despite a divisive political climate.
The leaders include Arabs-rights activist Linda Sarsour, ethical fashion designer Bob Bland and political organizers Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez. Planned Parenthood also partnered with the event to provide staff and organizational support. Participators were frequently reminded by those leading to use nonviolent tactics and create an environment of peace—which, according to local law enforcement, was a success.
Here are the faces and voices of those who were there, explaining why they came, in their own words:
“I think one of the biggest issues is climate change, and not believing in it. Because if Trump pulls out of the Paris agreement, he’s screwing over the country and the world.”
“I think the [issue] that really got me the most was the idea of a registry for Muslims, especially when you think of our history with internment camps.”
“I want to make sure that my daughters and my granddaughter have respect.”
“I think everybody has a right to speak out. I hope somehow our country can unite and seek a higher path.”
“I think they’re going way overboard, this is not the way to solve your problems. To solve the problems, you get behind your country and you support it. I think people protesting is fine, but I think we’ve got to have change and … we’ve got to do it the right way, and that is stand behind our country.”
“It’s really important to send a message that no matter who the President is, no matter who is in charge, sexual assault isn’t ok, women should have equal rights…
“Women make about 68 cents for every dollar that men make, and it’s even less for minority women, about 67 cents… women deserve equal pay for equal time.”
“I have two young sons and I don’t want them to think that anything about this is normal.”
“I came because I’m a registered Republican and I wanted to show solidarity with people who are here and upset about what’s happening in the country, and to show that some of us are ready to fight as well.”
“Growing up on the east coast and near New York, I’ve always been around very liberal people. I just assumed that the rest of the country was kind of like that. And after the election, after Trump won, everyone I knew was so surprised and I was so surprised and heartbroken.”
“I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she doesn’t have to live in fear of sexual assault.”
– Venable Family
“[I’m here for] the fact that Trump [is] trying to defund Planned Parenthood, which is not just a really important resource for women but for everybody, for men, families in general.”
“[I’m here] standing with brothers and sisters… we’re always stronger as a group, so I’m here supporting.”
“I wanted to go somewhere where I felt like women were celebrating how strong they are.”
“We can never be complacent, we have to exercise as many rights as we can as citizens to stand up for equality whenever we can. I just feel so sad to see people in power who don’t respect all American citizens.”
“The things that people in the past had to endure and the things that they did, even for women to have a right to vote—giving up their lives, being beaten, being starved, being in prison—I can come out in the snow and march and hold a sign and speak up.”
“I think now more than ever it’s important that we work against this whole trend as viewing each other as not important. Especially women—stop ignoring that they’re going through the struggles that they’re going through.”