Chanting “My Body My Choice,” and “Vote Him Out,” roughly 1,000 demonstrators took over the streets around Boston Common in a show of resistance to President Trump, one of more than 400 such events staged in all 50 states on Saturday.
The demonstrations were planned by the Women’s March organization that staged marches around the world the day after Trump’s inauguration to protest the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett and to rally voter opposition to Trump’s reelection.
“We’re not going to allow the Trump administration to decide who has equal rights and who doesn’t,” Siobhan Reidy, the lead organizer of the event, told demonstrators gathered across the street from the State House before the march. “We are here today to tell the temporary occupant of the White House that his sham of a nomination process is not supported by the American people.”
Reidy pointed to liberal concerns that, with the addition of Barrett, a more conservative Supreme Court may overturn the rulings that legalized abortion and same-sex marriage, and may not uphold the Affordable Care Act instituted by President Obama.
“We are here to tell Amy Coney Barrett that Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges and the ACA are settled law, and she will not take that away from us,” Reidy said.
“Tell them that we refuse to be handmaids,” she added.
Toiell Washington, of Black Boston, led the crowd in a call-and-response chant saying, “I will protect Black women. I will support women. I will believe Black women.”
And speaker Rosario Ubiera-Minaya used a cheeky reminder of the president’s preelection comments about women captured by Access Hollywood when she urged demonstrators from the Boston Common steps: “Let’s amplify our voices. Let’s grab him by the ballot.”
With polls indicating a gaping gender divide in the Nov. 3 election between Trump and Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, women’s votes will be key to defeating Trump, Rachel O’Leary Carmona, Women’s March executive director, said in an interview. One recent poll found Biden’s lead over Trump to be 59 percent to 36 percent among women, the widest margin for a presidential candidate in exit polls since 1976.
“They’re about to learn what happens when you subvert the will of the people, when you come for women and when you come for democracy itself,” said O’Leary Carmona.
O’Leary Carmona called Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic “mind-blowingly incompetent.”
“By any kind of measure, we are sicker, we are poorer, we are unhappier than we were four years ago,” O’Leary Carmona said. “Oftentimes we talk about, are we thriving or are we surviving? I would say we’re not even surviving at this point.”
State Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, who decided to run for office after organizing the women’s march in Northampton in 2017, told participants at the march that they need to fulfill the promise they made after his inauguration to oust Trump from office.
“I thought his presidency was going to be bad. But I did not realize the extent to which he would use that office to wage war on the American people,” Sabadosa said.
Sarah Carroll, 49, of Quincy, a graphic designer, made signs in tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose death last month created the vacancy that Trump has rushed to fill with Barrett’s nomination.
“I’m just overwhelmed by how much we’re ignored — especially women, how we’re treated, how gay rights, trans rights, immigrants are ignored,” she said.
“We just need to restore the soul of our country back cause it is unsettling every day, what’s happening, and it’s just getting worse,” said Carroll. “This has to end. I don’t recognize our country.”