2017 Women's March
The 2017 Women's March on Washington was a coordinated worldwide demonstration for women's rights as human rights held on Saturday January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Thousands of people assembled at Kelly Ingram Park and marched through downtown Birmingham, joining with the main march in Washington D.C. and "sister marches" in scores of other cities throughout the United States and around the world. Themes of the march included support for protecting women's rights as well as the rights of other threatened communities such as ethnic minorities, the poor, and the LGBT community as well as concern for the environment and for transparent government, all perceived to be at increased risk under the incoming U.S. administration.
The main march in Washington was organized by Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour and Bob Bland. State coordinators for the Alabama chapter, which organized participants traveling to Washington as well as the Birmingham march, included Deborah Barros-Smith, Alice Dilbeck, Jennifer F., Katie S., Shanté Wolfe-Sisson and Ebony Washington. The group chartered nine busses to carry 500 Alabamians to Washington, where they were joined by scores of others who traveled privately.
The rally in Birmingham began in Kelly Ingram Park at 2:00 PM, just as the sun broke out of the clouds after a drizzly morning. Speakers on stage included Kirsten Bryant of GASP, Judith Zambrano of Somos Tuscaloosa, Ebony Washington, Khaula Hadeed of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Bernard Simelton of the Birmingham NAACP, Ana Valeriano of HICA, Mayor William Bell, Birmingham City Council member Sheila Tyson, and Alabama State Representative Patricia Todd. The Huntsville Feminist Chorus then led the group in a few protest songs before the marchers took to the streets.
The route of the Birmingham march followed 5th Avenue North from Kelly Ingram Park to 20th Street North, then up to Linn Park, over to 19th Street North and back to 6th Avenue North to return to Kelly Ingram Park. Police estimated that the crowd in the park was more than 5,000 people with some reports that as many as 10,000 participated in the march itself.
Several speakers noted the historical association of holding a march for human rights in the heart of the city's Civil Rights District. Many participants took the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by Civil Rights Movement demonstrators at the park, the adjacent 16th Street Baptist Church and along the march route, marked with Birmingham Civil Rights Trail signs. Although the demonstration wasn't focused on opposition to President Trump, many homemade signs and spontaneous chants of "Love Trumps Hate" referenced him.
Birmingham artist Ira Hill brought a large-scale American flag fabricated from heavy-gauge sheet metal. The public was invited to add messages to the flag, which was then painted over in pink with a single word, "Love".
- Vollers, Anna Claire (January 13, 2017) "Alabamians prepare for Women's March on Washington, sister march in Birmingham." The Birmingham News
- Jones, Monique (January 19, 2017) "Sister March to show solidarity for Women's March on Washington." The Birmingham Times
- Ostroff, Jamie (January 19, 2017) "'Sister march' to Women's March on Washington planned in Birmingham." WIAT.com
- Vollers, Anna Claire (January 21, 2017) "Thousands parade through Birmingham streets for Alabama Women's March." The Birmingham News
- Ciammachilli, Esther (January 21, 2017) "Birmingham Women's March Draws Massive Crowd." WBHM.org