Despite our newly minted president’s concerns over the relative size of the crowds at his inauguration, City Hall’s estimate that 400,000 people marched for women’s rights in Manhattan Saturday drew few if any challenges.
Queens was proud to be part of the grassroots demonstration, which choked the side streets and avenues with peaceful demonstrators who carried signs urging Donald Trump to respect the gains women have made. The messages ranged from sincere to outrageous, but the underlying sentiment was a call to preserve the status quo at very least and defeat efforts to roll back progress.
The atmosphere was exhilarating: thousands of men, women, children, families smiling and sometimes chanting slogans as they strolled up Fifth Avenue in a spontaneous movement to protect New York values that grew out of a Facebook posting from Hawaii after Trump won the election Nov. 8.
City Councilman Danny Dromm led hundreds of Jackson Heights residents to protest Trump’s inauguration amid fears his agenda would strip women, the gay community, seniors, immigrants - and particularly Muslims - of their civil liberties and legal safeguards.
In keeping with tradition, the No. 7 train was delayed, but the group finally got there. On the jammed No. 6 line one wag traveling to the march said: “The MTA puts on extra trains for the Yankee games, but not women.”
The Center for the Women of New York, a Queens-based group, gathered about 50 marchers and walked with signs saying “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.”
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, now the Democratic minority leader, spent 3 1/2 hours on the barricades at the march. Other elected officials were spotted in the human sea.
This was not an organized protest, which made it all the more amazing. People simply showed up in numbers that far exceeded what the NYPD had predicted. The few police seen on the side streets were riding bicycles - a new department unit.
It was a day to make New Yorkers proud, particularly since there was not a single arrest during the seven-hour march.
But this was before Trump muzzled the EPA and claimed that illegal immigrants cast 2 to 3 million votes against him - a breathtaking falsehood.
The big question is what happens next and how to harness the energy that propelled hundreds of thousands to take to the streets. Trump is a hometown boy and we want him to be straight with us. No diversionary tactics, Mr. President. Just lay out your agenda and we’ll decide where we should go from there.
©2017 Community News Group
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