A crowd of women, men and children estimated at 50,000 marched the streets of Denver Saturday morning for what some called a line of defense for women’s rights against the new president.
“It’s been amazing to see people young and old, people of all races really coming together, women and men, to say we matter, we belong here and we’re going to make our voices heard,” said state Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver, just before addressing the massive crowd in Civic Center park.
The crowd was massive but the estimates varied widely. Immediately after the march, a Denver police dispatcher said the number was about 50,000. Organizers said 200,000 and Denver police later said on Twitter they weren’t making an official estimate.
Marchers chanted slogans such as “Make America great — love not hate” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the patriarchy has got to go.”
Sarah Bunn of Parker carried a picture of her three cats over the world “power” in wide pink letters.
“We’re marching for equality and everyone deserves to be treated equally in this country,” she said. “We need to show people we won’t be silenced.
Carole Hagele from Centennial said she was speaking for a sense of American history.
“Most of our ancestors gave up their time away from their families and friends to fight and die in wars to preserve our rights,” he said. I want to preserve those rights so their efforts were not in vain.
I don’t want our country taken over by hated and greed, racism and bigotry.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and a collection of other leading Democratic politicians led the march and delivered speeches about equality for all to the receptive crowd.
“I think it’s always important to show up and be part of a demonstration that stands up for equal rights, to stand for women’s rights and, really, stand for America,” Hancock said.
He also was standing up for his wife and the women in his life, the mayor said.
“One of the hardest things after the election was how do I explain to my daughters how the things that were said and done can help elect someone to the highest office in the land,” he said. “I’m here today because I want to make a strong statement that we all have a responsibility to demonstrate to our daughters, our sisters, our mothers that we stand with them, we respect them, we love them and we’re going to do everything we can to protect them.”
Jessica Rogers, one of the organizers of the Denver march, said work on it began soon after the election in November.
“We wanted people to have a place not to vent frustration but to find support and to find unity,” she said. “We’ve been really adamant about this not being a protest but being a statement of vigilance of rights. We wanted people to feel empowered.”
Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet of Commerce City said the day wasn’t just about equal rights for women, but equal rights for all.
“We say women’s rights are human rights,” Michaelson Jenet said.