“It’s only going to be America first, America first,” President Donald Trump emphasized during his inauguration speech, holding a single finger in the air. Yet it’s estimated that more than a million people rallied together at Women’s Marches in cities around the world over the weekend. There were massive turnouts in Washington D.C., Mexico City, Paris, London, Prague and Sydney.
Here in Toronto, tens of thousands of women gathered at Queen’s Park for Toronto’s March on Washington. Many wore the iconic pink “pussyhats” and carried pickets down University Avenue, before gathering at Nathan Phillips Square.
It’s ironic that Trump has a dismissive attitude towards any nation that isn’t America, when the global women’s marches are proof that America’s issues reverberate across borders in our globalized world. There has been no other presidential inauguration that has inspired women (and men) from around the world to come together and denounce this political outcome and reaffirm that Trump will not be allowed to move the world backwards.
If you read the signs carried in the Toronto march, it was obvious the common denominator is a rejection of Trump. The voices within this broad message were intersectional and called for equality on a range of social issues. The march showed how these diverse issues all intersect.
Farrah Khan, the co-ordinator of Ryerson’s Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education, was one of the speakers at the march and voiced shame over existing issues within Canada. She specifically mentioned anti-black racism, police brutality, safety for trans people and the epidemic of murdered and missing indigenous women, among many others.
“I ask you, when we believe survivors, we believe all survivors,” said Khan, and later added, “When we believe survivors, we believe ourselves.”
Here in Canada, we have our own issues that must be addressed, and we are just as connected to the rest of the world as America is. Feminism is a broad term, and is an inclusive movement which looks to combat inequality in its many forms. It is not definitive, and allows for many causes to come together and voice their own struggles, all while adding to a unified message.
If we break down the issues into a smaller scale, Ryerson, like many university campuses, is a microcosm of a nation with a diverse population — it reflects the problems society has as a whole. The global scale of the women’s marches was to bring attention to a larger problem. Change always starts through action in our own communities — including on our university campuses.