The Women’s march in New York is underway, and the protesters fill all surrounding streets, filling midtown Manhattan with the spirit of a feminist revolution. Thousands of women all ages showed up to protest, but so did their allies, friends and family.
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One of the groups taking part in the New York march is the City Congregation of Humanistic Judaism, which can be spotted from afar due to the banners with the Star of David, and the pink cat-like hats that are keeping them warm.
Amy Golding and her partner Nancy Lu have made the hats for members of the congregation to wear on the march today, and for friends marching in D.C. "They have been knitting every evening!" says their son Joseph, holding a sign that say "We were strangers in Egypt."
“I believe that everyone needs to get involved in every way you can, and it’s hard to know how to get involved politically when you feel powerless," says Amy. "The hats were the way we could send this energy out, and forward. I’ve been part of the congregation for 15 years, and community is important, we encourage each other in this powerless time."
Sybil Maimin, also marching with the congregation, says she has never witnessed anything like this in New York City, but that the reasons for the protest were also unprecedented.
“I’m genuinely scared for the future, those of us with children feel almost as if we are letting them down” she says, mentioning the rise in hate crimes, and the recent attacks on Jewish community centers around the country.
“But we can’t give up. Clearly we as Jews have come to think of America as the safest country for Jews, and have come to take certain rights for granted. There are historical precedents, and seeing this in America is shocking. And since America has been a leader, seems like we are now giving legitimacy to similar things to happen around the world”.
"We are here with thousands of people, to help support women’s rights, human rights, dignity for all people," says Peter H. Schweitzer, the rabbi of the congregation.
“As Jews, we have a moral obligation, when we see injustice, to speak out. As our signs say, we were strangers in Egypt”, adds his wife, Myrna Baron.
Yet Baron, and others, were encouraged by the sheer size of the protest. “We have never had an inauguration where more people have showed up for the protests then the inauguration. I feel very heartened by the protest in New York, and I think this is just the beginning. This morning on the news, I heard that 17,00 people turned out to protest in Wichita, Texas. This is not just as coastal thing.”
The Women's March on Washington appeared to be larger than the crowds that turned a day earlier to witness Trump's inauguration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. No official estimates of the crowd size were available, but the demonstrators appeared to easily exceed the 200,000 organizers had expected.
In Los Angeles the Sister March estimated it drew 750,000 demonstrators, and a planned march in Chicago grew so large that organizers did not attempt to parade through the streets but instead staged a rally. Police said more than 125,000 people attended.
The protests illustrated the depth of the division in the country, which is still reeling from the bitterly fought 2016 election campaign. Trump stunned the world by defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. party.
Reuters provided background for this report