If you’re a self-identifying woman, a person of colour, LGBT, an immigrant, a person with a disability, a follower of any given faith—or, at the very least, someone who possesses even a shred of decency and respect for human rights—you’ve likely been outraged, nay sickened, by the most recent U.S. election cycle.
And though there appears no way to stop the inauguration of Donald Trump, on January 21—the day following the president-elect’s swearing-in—you can choose to take a stand.
Thousands of women and supporters of women’s and other marginalized groups’ rights will be marching in Vancouver on this day in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. The free event is one of many localized rallies taking place around the world as an extension of the demonstration in D.C., which has evolved from a feminist protest against Trump’s misogynistic rhetoric to an inclusive march for the liberties of all those directly or indirectly attacked during his fear-mongering campaign.
“The hatred that we’ve seen spring up, not just in the U.S. but in some of our own communities, frankly is abysmal,” Lisa Langevin, a local electrician and one of the Vancouver rally’s organizers, tells the Straight by phone. “We know that more of us support these groups than are against them, so, really, this is a visible signal to all of those people that we have their backs. And it’s important that Vancouverites take part in this because those attitudes aren’t limited by any border.”
Protestors will meet at Jack Poole Plaza on January 21 at 10 a.m. and will march past the U.S. Consulate on West Pender Street and Trump International Hotel & Tower on West Georgia Street before looping back to Jack Poole, where various speakers will take to the stage. The event is scheduled to end at 12 p.m.
According to the Women’s March on Washington - Vancouver’s Facebook event page, over 2,000 people will be in attendance. Whether you’ve already RSVP’d, are contemplating attending the rally, or will be standing in solidarity elsewhere, here’s what you can do to show your support.
Make a sign
Attendees of Vancouver’s march are encouraged to bring homemade signs that forward uplifting notes of diversity, resilience, and equality. “We are encouraging the messages to stay positive,” says Langevin.
In other words, though it may be easy to bash Trump, it’s worth keeping the event’s mission in mind: to connect with and support one another in the furthering of women’s rights and civil freedoms.
If you need some help getting started, Delish General Store (108–1535 Johnson Street) will be hosting a sign-making party on January 20, where you may speak and brainstorm with other activists. All sign-making materials will be provided.
You can also check out the Women’s March Protest Signs page on Facebook, where people from all corners of the globe have been posting images of their homemade signs to inspire others.
Rock a pussyhat
Shortly after the results of the U.S. presidential election were announced and plans for the women’s march in Washington, D.C., were set, the Pussyhat Project emerged in the U.S.
Founded by two women, the group has since produced thousands of caps decorated with cat ear–like tips to be worn by those attending Women’s March on Washington rallies around the world. The handmade hats represent the power of pink as well as the arts of knitting, crocheting, and sewing—all items typically associated with femininity—and reclaims the derogatory term “pussy” as a form of empowerment.
Check out the Pussyhat Project’s website for a step-by-step guide on how to make your own cap (the pattern was designed for knitters of all skill levels) or connect with other attendees via Facebook to see if someone may be willing to help you craft one.
If you prefer, you may also get in touch with friends, family, or other likeminded women to organize an identifiable uniform. Langevin, for example, will be marching in a homemade pinny alongside other tradeswomen from across the Lower Mainland.
Refuse to be complacent
If you’re unable to make it to Vancouver’s Women’s March on Washington, or a sister rally happening elsewhere, it’s crucial that you still make your voice heard.
Join the conversation on social-media by using the hashtag #WhyIMarch to share why standing up to the Trump administration, its abhorrent agenda, and the hate it has sparked matters to you.
You can also participate in Action Network’s virtual march, which will allow protestors to engage with others through video recordings, live-streaming, and other interactive methods. Details of the virtual march will be announced on Action Network’s website and on the Women’s March on Washington’s Facebook event page closer to the date.
“One of the biggest things is starting to take on the attitude of ‘If not me, then who?’ ” stresses Langevin. “It’s important that all of us stand up for what’s right. It’s important that all of us be more than bystanders. It’s important that all of us stand together in solidarity.”
Vancouver’s Women’s March on Washington takes place on January 21 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event begins and ends at Jack Poole Plaza (1085 Canada Place). To RSVP, click here.