Pledging to rid America of sexism, racism, meat-eating and especially President Donald Trump, about 2,500 demonstrators took to the streets of Wynwood on Sunday to add their voices to women’s protest marches around the United States.
The demonstrators, about two-thirds of them women, listened to speeches, sang along with protest ballads and watched skits for about four hours in support of a more feminist world, a goal that many of them considered obvious yet oddly elusive.
The event coincided with the second day of rallies across the country and around the world in solidarity with women demanding equality, justice and an end to sexual harassment. Sunday’s events were tagged with the title Women’s March Power to the Polls. They culminated with a Las Vegas rally that launched an effort to register 1 million voters and target swing states like Nevada in the midterm elections later this year, which could shift control of Congress.
At the Wynwood rally, donations were collected for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Florida Keys, as the communities continue recovery efforts after crushing blows from hurricanes last year. The event included speeches from two Democratic candidates for governor: Andrew Gillum and Gwen Graham.
State Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman also were among the speakers. “We must put this offensive president on defense,” Heyman said at the end of her speech. “The time’s up on abuse and harassment.”
For some of those who showed up for the rally, there was a certain sad quality of déjà vu about it all.
“I was doing this same thing in high school, fight for the [Equal Rights Amendment],” said 65-year-old Susan Gregg of Cooper City. “And here I am, 50 years later, still fr----’ doing it.”
The Wynwood protest wasn’t really a march — the demonstrators stuck to the streets in front of the Mana Wynwood Convention Center, many of them relaxing in lawn chairs with umbrellas raised against a fierce South Florida sun.
And at least in numbers, it didn’t match up well with a similar event last year at Bayfront Park, which drew more than 10,000 protesters. But organizers said there were big differences in the events that make it impossible to compare their size.
“Last year, we were concentrating on getting 30,000 Floridians up to Washington to join the parade of half a million people,” said Broward legislative candidate Emma Collum, the president of Women’s March Florida. “This year, with elections coming up in a few months, it seemed better to expend our effort on our own turf.”
Even the official theme of the rally, Power to the Polls, was directed at electoral politics, and teams of organizers from at least half a dozen Democratic party candidates worked the crowd, circulating ballot petitions and collecting names and numbers of potential volunteers.
Last year’s even took place just a few days after Trump’s inauguration, and was mostly directed against him.
Trump took plenty of hard punches Sunday — typical was a protest sign containing his caricature with wads of dollars falling from his pockets as he shouted, “Lie! Cheat! Golf!” — but the rally had a more scattershot feeling. There were signs and speakers about immigration, prison reform, the Black Lives Matter movement, gun control, abortion and militant veganism. Many of them wore pink caps with pointy kitty-cat ears, a reference to a word for cats that Trump was infamously caught on camera using for the female anatomy.
Information from the Sun Sentinel was used in this report.