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This Year's Women's March In Boston Serves As Both A Protest And Victory Lap, Marchers Say

Throngs of protesters gathered on Boston Common for the third annual Women's March, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Quincy Walters/WBUR)
Throngs of protesters gathered on Boston Common for the third annual Women's March, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (Quincy Walters/WBUR)

Despite bitter cold and an impending snowstorm, a sea of people wearing those iconic pink beanies showed up for the Women's March in Boston on Saturday.

The protesters gathered on Boston Common for the third annual event to hold protest signs — many of which advocated for women's reproductive rights or called for the impeachment of President Trump — and hear a litany of speakers.

For most speakers, the central message was: while there's a lot to protest since the 2016 presidential election — things like racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism — there's a lot to celebrate.

Alexandra Chandler, a trans woman who ran for Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District and lost, spoke at the rally. She highlighted that the passing of a November state ballot question to preserve trans people's rights to public accommodations was an achievement worth celebrating. She said it showed how different people could come together for a cause "greater than themselves."

"People of color, immigrant communities and women of every identity talked to their friends and knocked on doors for us," Chandler said. "We are all in this together."

Another source of joy for the group was the election of U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, representing the state's 7th Congressional District. She is the first woman of color Massachusetts has elected to Congress. Pressley has been on the job for two weeks, but was in Boston Saturday to deliver the march's keynote address and called it a "collective resistance."

The Boston rally was one of many Women's Marches that happened around the country on Saturday. The first Women's March began the day after President Trump's 2017 inauguration.

"People have asked me if I'm disillusioned, if I'm dismayed, and I tell them that 'cynicism is not a luxury we can afford,' " she said. "You have delivered me to Washington with a mandate to fight for justice. I am honored to fight alongside you. We exist. We resist. We rise."

The message of different communities advocating for each other resonated with Carline Desire, a Haitian-American from Boston who said she felt encouraged by the event.

"It's important to have the inclusion in all aspects of our work," Desire said. "And today I saw that and I am hopeful. Very hopeful."

People of all ages came out to march. For 10-year-old Dante De Jong who came with her mom and little sister, the choice to come out was simple.

"To march for women's rights and all people's rights," she said. "Because humanity's here to work together and live together."

A handful of counter-protesters chanted "U.S.A" and booed marchers.

By and large, the event was peaceful. There were no arrests, Boston police said. Many demonstrators left before the march ended due to the cold.

Quincy Walters Twitter Reporter
Quincy Walters is a general assignment reporter for WBUR.

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