On January 21st, 2017, more than 400,000 New Yorkers assembled in mid-town Manhattan to express their concerns and expectations towards the new administration led by President Donald J. Trump (yes, it’s a fact now). Thousands of overseas viewers, most of which are watching the live coverage at midnight in their time zone, were deeply touched and inspired by the open-minded, outspoken marcher, from ten-year-old boy to 75-year old lady, whether on foot, or on a wheelchair, or in a baby stroller, all came out to defend equality and show us immense amount of thought and creativity. All voices are out and they need to be heard.
As a small team of two representing a small media startup, we feel blessed to have stood alongside with these kind human beings and we are proud to be part of the march and the city. Thank you, New York City.
Here are the highlights transcribed from our interviews with marchers.
We’re very concerned about women’s rights. We are very concerned about the nominees for various offices, who seem to be not supportive of seniors, of social security, of Medicare, of women’s right. There are a lot of care issues in this country that are being ignored.
(Why only women care about social security and children’s rights?) Actually there are men, too. This started as a women’s march, and it started as a response to a lot of people in the administration who seem to have somewhat negative attitude towards women. But then it kind of grew, and it became about everybody’s rights. That’s why my sign says “Liberty, Justice & Equality for All!”
Essentially, that’s the basic fundamental belief of America that our constitution, and centuries we’ve made mistakes and we’ve had issues. But at heart, we all believe in justice, freedom and equality for all.
CAROL: And this has been going on for a long time. Four or five of us are from the class of 1968. We’ve marched against Vietnam. I have vintage buttons here. It’s really sad– we were saying that it’s so sad that we’re still out here in 2016 .
CAROL: I’m from Upstate New York, about 2 hours from here. I’m a clinical social worker.
MARSHA(uncertain name): I’m from New York City. I’m a psychologist.
JUDITH: I’m from New York state. I run a family foundation that gives away 50 million dollars a year.
KATIE: I’m from New York City, and I’m an actress.
MARGARET: I’m from New York City, and I’m a director and producer choreographer.
(Which march in the past decades that really impressed you?)
CAROL: This is pretty impressive, I think.
Judith: I was at the AIDS marches. They were in Central Park, and they brought out everybody.
(Anything you wanna add?)
MARGARET: I think what’s really important is that the country is coming together. Be kind, freedom and equality and caring for all of us. And I think that’s an important issue.
JUDITH: I think that women were shocked by the videos of Trump claiming that he could grab women’s private part cuz he was rich. And the fact that this country could elect someone who had said that is deeply horrifying to us.
Q: Some people claimed that Donald Trump’s comments on women is like “Locker Room talk” and harmless, do you agree?
JUDITH: I don’t think it’s appropriate anywhere.
CAROL: And for President? I don’t think we need a locker-room President.
MARGARET: What was interesting was that a group of college men got together and started posting videos and saying “we’re in the locker room, and we don’t talk like that, and that is not normal locker room conversation.” So that’s a myth. It is not normal locker room conversation. It’s abusive and he’s a predator.
CAROL: Real men don’t do that.
Greg (and his 2.5 year old daughter)
We are here because the candidate that got elected has said and believes in a lot of things we don’t believe. For example, the sort of things – you push against – the platform he ran on sort of against women and against immigration, sort of discounting others and his America-first message, is something that I don’t think everyone here believes in.
I’m with my family, we wife, my friends and their families.
Greg’s wife (Karen):
Just for the same reason. Just to stand up for rights. And we don’t believe in what necessarily what President-elect believes in.
Everyone in this country has rights. He has to be the president that represents everybody.
Stephanie (75 years old):
I’m here to protect human rights. I care about my children. I care about my grandchildren. I care about the globe. You’re from? (Taiwan) You’re from Taiwan, so you must care also about those very same things.I’m here with my husband Leonard. I’m totally against Trump. I think he’s a demagogue. I think he’s not here to bring us together.
His speech yesterday talked about we the people, but look who he’s put in his administration or nominated to be in his administration. It’s not we the people. It’s billionaires and multimillionaires. We don’t know anything about the departments they are being asked to run.
Leonard, Stephanie’s husband:
I agree with everything my wife said. I think it’s a sad day for America that he’s there. It’s a sad day for America and the world, really, and you’re coming from, and this is being broadcast from Taiwan? Donald Trump is the only friend that people of the world have and America. We just hope that the peace can be kept and that your island can be protected, and we can live cooperatively with Mainland China.
(Stephanie and her husband are from Connecticut and traveled here for the march.)
Alex ( 10 years old):
(Q: Why you’re here?) Because I’d like to fight for the people, and I’d like to stand up for rights for everyone around the world, no matter, regardless [of] the skin or gender.
Greg: (Alex’s father) (Q: Why you’re here?) Well, just as he said, we’re fighting for equality. We believe that everyone’s equal, and we don’t like the message that Mr. Trump has been sending to the world. (For example?) Lack of color, difference between race and gender. We don’t share those values.
Alex (with his wife, who is from Brazil)
I’m here to join the general resistance against hatred, misogyny and some unfortunate things that our newly-elected President stands for. (For example?) Hatred, misogyny (laugh), opposition to civil rights that we’ve fought very hard to maintain over decades and decades. I’m here for progress.
John (83 years old)
I think it’s probably it. Pretty obvious. It’s just–he is so incompetent, and he’s made a lot of people frightened. And he’s more than just– he’s just a bad person, I think. To be president, it’s embarrassing for a country, embarrassing to me and embarrassing to the country. And hopefully (bitter smile), things will change. We’re here to help change.
(What’s on your placard?) Inquiring minds want to know Putin/Trump.
(Are you with anybody today?) No, I just came up on my own. I live here, so I just thought I should be part of it.
(How long have you lived in NYC?) Most of my life. (Where are you from?) Well, I’ve lived here for 50 years. I was born just outside of New York.
Michelia (19 years old student)
I’m here today because I refuse to be complacent in the society that has shown me multiple times that they don’t care. American has shown multiple people, many Americans that they don’t care about us, and it’s time that we stop being silent and start moving forward in terms of creating a better country.
(What did you put on your sign?) My signs says “We are people, not debate topics.”
A lot of people think that, oh it’s up for debate, our humanity, as to many people standing here. We are not here to be debated. We are not here to be discussed. We are human beings and we have a right. We have a say. And we are here to voice that.
(Trump has got inaugurated. What would you expect him to respond?) Trump is very unpredictable. I feel that instead of trying to listen to the people, he’s just gonna, as usual, take to Twitter, and, you know, say the most outrageous things. Honestly, I want to believe in Trump, but it’s just he’s too unpredictable. And right now, he’s showing that he’s not capable of being President. He’s not able to take criticism. And I’m expecting—I’m trying to be optimistic, but I’m also expecting the worst since he’s just an out—he’s a character that we’ve never gotten before.
Terry (76 years old)
(Q: Tell me why you’re here today.) For my rights and for the rights of my boys, cuz we’re all disabled. And Trump has no respect for anything.
(Where are you from?) Staten Island.
(Do you think this march can actually make a difference?) Yes, I’ve taken part in protests from the Vietnam War on, and it does make a difference.
(What kind of difference that will be?) It brings more attention, more vocal and the politicians are gonna feel the pressure.
(Are you willing to tell me about your physical challenge?) My physical challenge is I have MS, and my boys all have Down syndrome, so they were really discriminated against. And now they want to cut more services.
Feature Photo/Transcription provided by Timmy Shen
Editor: Nadia Ho
About the Reporter
Timmy Shen is a Taiwanese journalist based in New York who has covered gender, education, ethnic communities, food, China and Taiwan. He obtained a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2016, and he previously worked for Global Voices Online as an editor for the Chinese edition. Twitter: @timmyhmshen
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