A crowd which had been estimated to reach roughly 1,500 people gathered near COSI to march to the Statehouse in support of women’s rights and opposition to president-elect Donald Trump on Sunday afternoon.
The march preceded the Women’s March on Washington — scheduled for next weekend in opposition to the inauguration of Trump and centered around a slew of progressive issues — and provided an opportunity for local Columbus residents to walk in unity with those who will be marching at the nation’s capital in a few days.
“I needed to do something, I needed to stand in solidarity with my fellow Americans because I’ve been so discouraged by this political season,” said Diana McCullough, one of the protesters.
While others were marching for the first time, McCullough stood among a number of protesters that were re-entering the act of protesting.
“In the 80s, I was in New York City marching for the nuclear freeze and this is the first time I’ve marched since then, so my activist past is getting reignited with our current political climate,” she said. “It’s my responsibility. So here I am and here we are.”
Clarke Cummings, another protester, brought his family to the event.
“We thought it was gonna be something really valuable, for them to see democracy in action and people standing up for a cause,” Clummings said. “Especially considering my daughter is 10 years old and when she turns 18 I don’t want here to have to re-fight these battles that I’ve already fought when I was in college.”
Some very young marchers held their parents’ hands as they strode down Broad Street, while others were pushed in wheelchairs to participate.
Hundreds wore “pussyhats,” or pink hats with cat ears. These hats have become a symbol of solidarity for women and men that support gender equality.
“As a woman we’re waking up a little less free every day,” protester Patty Denham said, going on to argue the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would harm women. “If (the government) dispenses with affordable health care then you’re looking at women and children losing health care. It’s just the oppression of women. We’re fighting a fight that’s been fought for centuries now and it’s to get equal rights. That’s what we’re standing here for, to say every little piece that you take away from us is taking away our freedoms.”
The women, men and children echoed through Columbus with chants such as “Women’s rights are human rights.”
One protester yelled above the crowd, “Show me what democracy looks like!” The crowd replied, “This is what democracy looks like!”
After several protesters spoke to the crowd outside the statehouse, the protest died down around 3 p.m.