On Saturday, a million people around the world are expected to take to the streets under the Women’s March banner. Marches have been organised in over 280 cities, among them Copenhagen where a route has been planned from the US Embassy to the Danish Parliament.
According to the organisers, the march is a global show of solidarity to promote equality and the protection of the rights of women, immigrants and marginalised groups.
The timing is symbolic, coming the day after Donald Trump takes office as US President. Known for his divisive language and positions, his election was received with shock by many in the US, concerned that he will crack down on rights and civil liberties, and do little to address poverty and inequality.
Lesley-Ann Brown, one of the organisers in Copenhagen, says the march is about more than Trump, however.
“Although he is the catalyst it is by no means the focus of the march, which is about not only standing together in light of the normalised ignorance revealed during the campaign of the President-elect, but also about people standing together to show our solidarity with each other in a show of resistance. For many, the recent political tone, not just in the States, but here in Europe as well has had a disabling effect, and what many of us are experiencing is that this activation is the best and most empowering response. We refuse to remain silent in the face of abusive and divisive language and what can only be described as a throwback in the case of female reproductive rights in the US. We will not remain silent in the face of anti-Black, anti-Islam, and any other hateful language that seems to have become normalised in the West.”
In what specific ways has the political tone had a negative impact on your life?
“Personally, I have found the tone in the recent US elections to be unsettling. Part of what is unsettling is the lack of accountability that I continue to see on display. With Trump’s appointments of people with known histories of white supremacy, for example, appointing Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist, a man who claims responsibility for making a platform for the “alt-right. Coupled with the outright violent comments about women, I find this disturbing. But for me, I understand that it is not solely about Trump. He is a symptom of where we are in the world, and the fights that remain to be fought.”
You talk about resistance and that the march can be a way to empower people in the face of this political tone. What about after though, what can ordinary people do to address the issues the Women’s March hopes to shed light on?
“Get involved! One of the most brilliant experiences I have been fortunate enough to have recently is physically feeling how feelings of powerlessness and fear have been transformed to those of hope and determination. If it’s one thing we can thank recent events for, it’s for activating me and showing me that there is a lot to be done. We cannot afford to be complacent! Our silence is compliance. We all have different interests, different passions. I say identify what you feel passionate about – and build community and action around that!”
Women’s March – Saturday, January 19, 14:00
FROM: the Embassy of the United States
Dag Hammarskjölds Allé 24, 2100 København Ø, Denmark
TO: the Danish Parliament
Christiansborg Slotsplads, 1240 København K, Denmark