Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge plays big role in Women’s March on Washington

Organizer Linda Sarsour says ‘We are a force to be reckoned with’

January 23, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Demonstrators march up Fifth Avenue during a women's march, Saturday, Jan. 21, in New York. The march was held in solidarity with similar events taking place in Washington and around the nation. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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The historic Women’s March on Washington, which drew an estimated 500,000 people to the nation’s Capitol to protest President Donald Trump and spawned similarly large demonstrations in cities all over the world on Saturday, had a touch of Bay Ridge.

Linda Sarsour, a Bay Ridge resident who was one of the organizers of the massive march, said she was pleased to stand on the stage in Washington during the demonstration and see a sea of faces.

The demonstration took place on the day after Trump’s inauguration. The event featured speakers such as feminist icons like Gloria Steinhem and stars like Madonna, Alicia Keys and Scarlett Johansson.

“The Women’s March on Washington exceeded our expectations. It will go down as one of the largest protests in U.S. history. We proved that when women lead, we can bring millions together across the country and we can create a movement that everyone sees themselves in,” Sarsour told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York, was one of a small group of women who put together the Washington protest.

What eventually developed into a worldwide phenomenon began very simply: with Facebook posts from a retired lawyer in Hawaii and a fashion designer in New York the day after Trump’s election on Nov. 8. Their suggestions that women organize protests soon went viral and led to plans for demonstrations in cities all over America, in red states as well as blue states. The movement then went worldwide as plans were made to hold protest marches in places like London, Paris and Sydney.

Sarsour joined together with a small group of women who started organizing a march on Washington.

To Sarsour, the fact that millions of people turned out for the protest marches across the globe sends a strong message to the Trump administration. “We are a force to be reckoned with and we look forward to continuing to build political and social capital that protects our communities and our rights,” she told the Eagle.

Mothers marched with their daughters and granddaughters and the protesters included men and boys.

Many of the marchers told reporters that they view Trump as a threat to women’s rights, including pay equality and access to abortion rights. Still others stated that they were turned off by what they described as the “divisive tone” of his rhetoric.

Mikhael Tara Garver, 37, of Brooklyn, who marched with her mother, told The New York Times that her family was shocked by the election result. “We were all calling my great-aunts because we all knew how important Hillary was to them and how important surviving to see that moment was for them,” the Times quoted her as saying.

Prior to the march, Sarsour said the excitement was building. She told the Eagle that said she was “proud to represent Bay Ridge and add to our rich history.”

New York organizers of the Women’s March on Washington organized a fleet of buses to transport New Yorkers to the event. Several of the buses left from Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, the march in Manhattan attracted an estimated 400,000 participants and jammed Fifth Avenue.

The Times reported that organizers are hoping that the marches are the start of a new era of political activism in the U.S. following the divisive presidential election that brought to the surface issues like out-of-touch elites and the anger of working class whites.

Trump, a Republican, won the Electoral College over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. But he lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.


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