WOMEN UNITED: Love trumps hate at joyful OKC Women’s March

Published 6 months ago -


ANDREW W. GRIFFIN | JANUARY 21, 2017, RED DIRT REPORT

OKLAHOMA CITY – Thousands of women – along with many children and sympathetic men – gathered on the southside of the State Capitol on Saturday morning as part of a nationwide Women’s March movement that is attracting hundreds of thousands in cities across America, all united in solidarity.

And it’s no surprise that this march comes on the first full day of Donald J. Trump being in office as the 45th president, a man who has been accused by some women of sexually assaulting them. Many marchers expressed shock and disgust at the very notion of such a person now being their president.

And while many of the marchers are vexed about Trump moving into the White House, there was more joy, humor and good vibes during the march, setting a positive tone, mixed with a soldi determination to stand up against Trumpism and everything it stands for.

“Hear us roar!” was chanted, as was “Marching for progress, my sisters!” There were a number of speakers scheduled to speak as well.

And despite it being overcast and chilly, there was a peaceful and festive atmostphere at the crowded event, which was joined by food trucks from Big Truck Tacos, Junction Coffee, and others. One corner featured games for children and even face painting for marchers.

JoAnn Bullard, president of the Edmond chapter of the American Association of University Women was with other women, handing out snacks and bottled water to many of the demonstrators.

“We think this is wonderful,” Bullard said of the huge crowd. “We’re just so happy to do it. Everyone is so appreciative. Everyone says ‘thank you.’ Some children come up and are afraid to take (a bottle of water), but we smile and tell them it’s o.k.”

Rainbo Scherschligt, of Norman, said she hoped that this march would fire up women to “come together.”

“Everyone should be completely outraged at what’s going on,” Scherschligt said, holding a sign of an orange-faced Trump and the statement: “You can’t comb over misogyny.”

While organizers said the Women’s March is to “unify and empower everyone who stands for human rights, civil liberties and social justice for all,” the signs and messages and chants were even more broad, with emphasis on reproductive rights, improving education, pro-immigration. Native American rights, LGBTQ rights, and anti-fascism.

And the plethora of signs – and there were many – ran the gamut from serious to hilarious to graphic. Here is a sampling:

“A woman’s place is in the revolution.”

“This pussy grabs back.”

“Fight fascism – Resist Trump!”

“Hate won’t make us great.”

“Not your vagina.”

“Didn’t we settle this in the 1960’s?”

“Fuck the patriarchy.”

“Keep your filthy laws off my silky drawers.”

And while this was a march comprised of and for women and women’s rights, there were also many men in the crowd, including Georgia native Scott Rankin, who lives in Lawton. He marched, holding a sign reading: “Teach your daughters about Tulsi Gabbard.” Gabbard is an Iraq War veteran who is a U.S. representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district and a progressive Democrat in the vein of Bernie Sanders. Gabbard already has a “Run Tulsi Run” Facebook page, Rankin told Red Dirt Report.

Red Dirt Report correspondent Sean Cummings is in Washington at the main Women’s March, where several hundred thousand marchers were in attendance.

And back in Oklahoma City, one marcher we spoke to, having a snack with her child and sporting a sign quoting Oklahoma’s Woody Guthrie’s famous “This machine kills fascists” slogan, said she could not give her name, because she works for a government contractor, but wanted to show solidarity with her sister marchers and support democracy.

A young child hangs out with his mom, who brought a “This machine kills fascists” sign to the OKC Women’s March. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

“Regardless of who is president … all voices should be heard,” the woman said.

Lora Winchester, meanwhile, was in attendance at the march, along with her children.

“The current administration is promoting divisiveness in the United and not just against women but also minorities. I don’t want my kids to think that that is normal, normalizing hate. I think that is happening,” Winchester said. “I don’t think is necessarily an anti-Trump (event). I’m not trying to be anti-Trump, but more pro-love and inclusiveness.”

Guthrie resident Emily Boyett said she came to the Women’s March for a variety of reasons.

“I’m supporting diversity, equality … I’ve got a whole list. I said I could have made a flip chart of signs, frankly,” Boyett said. “I should have hired a plane to pull a long, rainbow banner across things.”

“This is so awesome. It makes me so proud to be just a tiny, tiny speck in this sea of signs and solidarity, unity. I’ve never seen so many people come together for so many good things and riled up over (political events). I think something negative has actually brought a lot of positive things together.

Boyett continued, saying she hopes this growing movement makes Oklahoma a little less “red” and intolerant.

“We’re just trying to make it a little more purple,” Boyett said. “And a little nicer and little kinder. That would be great.”

#WomensMarchOK

Red Dirt Re­port was launched on July 4, 2007, as an in­de­pen­dent web­site cov­er­ing all man­ners of news, cul­ture, en­ter­tain­ment and lifestyle sto­ries that af­fect and in­ter­est Ok­la­homa read­ers and read­ers out­side of our state.

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