By Patrick Forrest, Chicago Crusader
In the time following the inauguration of Donald Trump, millions of Americans took to the street to voice their displeasure with the proceedings, including hundreds of thousands throughout downtown Chicago.
Shortly after the 45th president was sworn into office many began to congregate downtown and march through the streets with signs, masks and chants to make known that they did not support the new administration.
Music through the airways of the protesters filled streets as many deciding to voice their displeasure made Chicago’s Trump Tower the focal point. Even a band coming together to play a rendition of Darth Vader’s theme, Imperial March from the Star Wars films.
The next day, an estimated 250,000 people, including many referring to themselves as ‘Nasty Women’ in reference to a comment made by Trump to his then opponent Hillary Clinton, took to the streets of downtown Chicago to march in support of women’s rights, and against certain rhetoric used by Trump during the campaign season.
The initial estimates of the number of protesters were made an issue for what was supposed to be a rally and march. Due to the immense crowd size and the inability to move them through the streets safely by Chicago Police, it was changed into just a rally in Grant Park.
“Michigan Avenue is flooded with marchers,” event co-chairwoman Ann Scholhamer told the crowd at Jackson and Columbus drives a little before 11 a.m. “Wabash is flooded with marchers. State Street is flooded with marchers. People are still waiting for trains in Oak Park. We called, and you came.”
Many of the crowd did not heed the instructions and marched through a route blocked off by CPD officers anyway.
“I came to march, I am going to March” Lance Thompson said, while beginning the turn down Jackson of what was the planned march route while officers looked on.
While the two events do not officially have any connection — one being purely anti-Trump and the other to advance an agenda of women’s rights, the two will be used to demonstrate an attitude of what is to be considered acceptable in America.
“I don’t think that someone who has said the horrible things that he has should be able to get rewarded with winning an election like that,” said Christopher Wright, 16-year-old who was attending the march. It was his first stated act of activism with a group of friends from school. “If this is the world that I am going to be in then I’d like good things to happen to good people, not ones like that.”
With the women’s marches taking place around the country, many came out with counter-protest of what was seen by those as a largely Caucasian movement.
“Fifty-three percent. Fifty-three percent is a number that white people, in particular white women will not be able to get away from for the next four years,” Yamina Grace said. “And I don’t plan to let them.”
The 53 percent is a reference to the largely reported exit poll number from this past election that showed that 53 percent of white women from around the country cast their ballots for Donald Trump, which some believe was the key to swinging the election.
“I think this is great,” Wright said. “But I do think we should remember that this is not the only protest. When people get gunned down there are marches. I think this is a great way to get started and I hope the word gets spread around and we can all start to come out for each other more, I know I will.”