Women in Mexico joined others in Washington, D.C., today for the Women’s March on Washington, an event that was initially intended to share concern over Donald Trump’s election as United States president.
It began with a Facebook post proposing a demonstration. By this afternoon it had become a massive demonstration not only in Washington but in cities around the world.
Hundreds turned out in front of the U.S. embassy in Mexico City to express worry and anger over the Trump presidency, carrying signs bearing calls for gender equity, an end to racism, respect for Mexico and other messages.
The abortion issue was also raised: “Abort unwanted presidencies,” read one sign.
“Love trumps hate,” read another.
It was expected that women would march in at least 10 Mexican cities and that may if not most would be expatriates from the U.S. who live in Mexico either full or part-time.
March organizers in Mexico saw the event as more than an anti-Trump demonstration, saying they wished to focus on communicating support for core human values and issue a call to action to sustain women and families, civil and human rights, diversity, ethics in government, adequate universal health care, environmental protection and a fair and equal justice system.
For one, Janet Blaser of Mazatlán, inclusion and acceptance were key issues.
The march organizer and magazine publisher said Mazatlán has a history of immigrants who were welcomed from many countries, such as Spain, Germany, France and the Philippines.
“This inclusion has built a city proud of its many-faceted heritage. Now, American and Canadian retirees flock here and add to our vibrancy.” It was that inclusion and acceptance that motivated her to organize the march, she said.
“The truth is that in order to build a better future for our children and ourselves we must do it together, with respect, honesty and dignity for all. Despite those who want to build walls that separate, literally or ideologically, ultimately we are all one people, living on one planet.”
In Oaxaca, Kathie McCleskey saw the march as a wakeup call. “It’s a women’s march but I think it is also a general worldwide thunderbolt to tell us to stand up and say ‘what the heck is going on in the United States.’
“Oaxaca is a special place for me, and when I think of the many recent threats and bullying taunts directed at Mexico and Mexicans, it makes my blood boil. All of this is to instill fear in people. So I march for Mexico and for Mexicans in the United States, to ensure that their treatment by the U.S. government during these strange times is fair, under the rule of law and compassionate.”
Roberta Christie also planned to march in Oaxaca. “What we are doing is very important, especially if the message is clear that we are acting in solidarity with Mexico and are horrified at the threats this president-elect is making, insulting a proud nation that has been our ally and trading partner. His false, hateful characterizations of Mexicans are deplorable and dangerous in the extreme.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by expats in San Miguel de Allende.
“I stand together with all peoples for the protection of our rights, knowing diversity is our strength,” said Honey Sharp, an organizer of the march in that city.
“This city is the third largest expat community in the world,” said Kathleen Cammarata, also an organizer. “We, the Mexicans and the expats, work together as a community. We are marching for our rights as women and humans regardless of race, creed or country.”
One Oaxaca march organizer would prefer to see bridges rather than walls.
“For me,” said Jacki Cooper Gordon, “there is a devotion to making sure that human rights, and the right to a good education, a belief in science, and access to health care for all at home are protected and expanded rather than destroyed. And I strongly believe that we should be building bridges not walls between the U.S. and Mexico, and that protecting our Mexican sisters and brothers and other immigrants who are in peril in the U.S. is crucial.”
As of late this afternoon, Reuters reported that hundreds of thousands of marchers gathered in Washington, numbers that were unexpectedly high and an indication of the strong public opposition Trump might face in office.