The first Women’s March was held the day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated in January 2017. Millions of people marched across the country in protest to Trump, calling out his campaign for using sexism, racism, and bigotry.
According to Baton, the 2020 event is all about applying the traction they’ve gained since the first Pittsburgh Women’s March in 2017. Since Trump took office, Democrats have won scores of elections nationwide, including flipping the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislators.
With a primary election in April and the presidential ballot to follow in November, various local leaders and candidates for state office addressed the crowd. Among them was U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Mt. Lebanon), who offered a send-off in the form of a quote made popular by Eleanor Roosevelt.
It was a message that rang true to Emma Shirey, a junior at Duquesne University.
“I’m so grateful to live in a city where representatives speak their truth and then march for it,” she says. “It’s such a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by such strength and dedication when marching for what we communally believe in.”
“We worked around protecting women’s right to choose, the safety of women’s bodies, and in supporting our trans leaders,” says Baton. “In a city where Black women might have the worst life outcome of anywhere in the country, it’s really important that we vote to change that.”
To ensure everyone has a chance to have their voice heard in the voting process, leaders at the march distributed 10,000 cards with all the information one needs to become a voter registrar — aka someone who helps others get signed up to vote.
“Everyone who marches has a reason that they march. Everyone who stands up for principles has a reason they stand up,” says Baton. “If you look at the ways in which social changes happened, it was around people rising up and getting out for face-to-face life. The face-to-face life is the only thing that will save us, and when we are face to face, we increase the peace and we increase our power to create change.”
Among the crowd was Jade Donegan-Infinito and her wife, Marypat. Both have been involved in the women’s rights movement for more than 40 years.
Marypat went to D.C. to march, too, sometime around 1969. For her, marching is about changing minds.
“I’m a doctor of counseling, so that’s what I did most of my life. A lot of it was women changing their minds and understanding that they’re entitled to be equal,” she says. “A lot of men come around, as well, understanding that they’re freer when women are free to be themselves.”