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The day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hundreds of residents from the greater Williamsburg area took to marching on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg to show support for women’s rights. The diverse protest was filled with people of all races, ages, and sizes.
Organizers said they had expected only 50 of their closest friends to come to the march, but nearly 700 people participated in the protest at its peak.
Sue Dickler organized the march and said the peaceful protest had been permitted for 200 people, but she said she had been informed by the Williamsburg Police Department the protest would be allowed to go on if they marched down DoG Street towards the colonial capitol building. David Pape, a local engineer, said he estimated over 1,000 people turned out to support the march.
Stacey Long from James City County said she brought her children Zoe and Cooper so they would learn it’s alright to voice their opinion.
“I’d like Zoe to know it’s safe to stand up,” Long said. “There are other people. There will be other people, but you just have to put yourself out there.”
The event kicked off with hundreds of protesters rallying in Merchant’s Square before the crowd marched on the colonial capitol building.
There were less than 10 supporters of President Trump standing on the fringe of the route, despite the fact that Trump won the majority of votes in both James City and York counties.
Long said she felt alone at the polls on Election Day, but the march was comforting. She thought the local elections would have swung more to the Democrats if more people had gone out to vote.
“I think there’s a very silent, tepid, more liberal, progressive-thinking community here,” Long said. “And, I think this is what we need, so that we know we can be a little more vocal.”
Protesters in the march shouted slogans such as “Black lives matter,” “Love not hate, make America great,” and “Women united, we will never be divided.” Some of the elementary-school-age protesters stood together to say “Dump the Trump.”
Michelle Alexander from James City County said she brought her children to the march for a “civics lesson.”
“It’s important, and I want them to be able to tell their children and their grand-children that they stood up for the rights of all people,” Alexander said.
Alexander said the march embodied women’s rights, human rights, LGBTQ rights, and the rights of economic immigrants.
“I think as women we understand being marginalized,” Alexander said. “We understand being marginalized so we understand all other marginalized community and so it’s important we stand up not just for ourselves but for them too.”