The day following the inauguration of President Donald Trump, thousands of residents gathered in Acacia Park to march through downtown Colorado Springs. Protesters cited demands for equality, fairness, and human rights from the new president.
The March on Colorado Springs was a sister march to the hundreds of marches for women’s rights worldwide. According to statistics from the New York Times and USA Today, more than 2.6 million people participated in marches aimed at resisting President Trump’s rhetoric, actions, and policies.
The Colorado Springs Showing Up for Racial Justice group (SURJ) and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) helped organize the event. According to organizers, the protest drew around 7,000 people and was among the largest demonstrations ever in Colorado Springs.
Local state lawmakers and longtime activists addressed the crowd before the march.
Executive Director of Justice and Peace Commission Anjuli Kapoor told the demonstrators, “Generations have been marching in their works, in their lives, and in their passions. We march to educate the empowered; we march to build our resistance.”
The support for pro-choice policies was one core issue associated with the march, particularly in Colorado Springs with connections to the Planned Parenthood shooting back in November of 2015.
Nico Wilkinson ‘16, a Planned Parenthood representative at the march, encouraged everyone to ”turn [their] passion into real action.”
As the group marched around 2:30 p.m., police shut down part of downtown. With a slogan of “No hate, no fear, everyone is welcome here,” the protesters started their marches from Tejon Street, moved south to Colorado Avenue, and then back to Acacia Park.
Julia Nelson, a local home-schooling mother, came to the march with her two children and her husband. “I came today because I am concerned about my children, especially my daughter,” she said. “With the way Trump shows respect for others, I don’t want them to grow up in a world in which they think it’s OK when white males can disrespect women and minorities.”
“Everyone should stand in what they believed in. That’s what I believed in: women should have better rights,” said Madeline Daniel, a local high school student. “I believe that [President Trump] has the potential, but I do not have the greatest hope for it at the moment,” she continued.
Many CC students also attended the march. “President Trump is a racist, a sexist, and he is homophobic, Islamophobic, and not accepting the people who live in this country. He doesn’t represent the compassion this country should be built on…. I think that it is important to show that there still those of us who do want this to be a place for everyone,” said Junior Elsa Bonyhadi.
Senior Reed Young said that the march was energizing. “I honored the electoral process,” he said. “I understand that’s one of the things that makes America a good country. I really do believe that, as President Obama said, ‘a peaceful transition of power.’ So within the same framework of democracy, I have the right to voice up my opinion. I think our president is not the best president.”
Regardless of the personal reason for attending, the march was a unifying moment for many who feel frustrated after the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.