In downtown St. Louis, Market Street has always been known for being busy, with City Hall, Union Station, City Garden and more lining both sides. Last Saturday, it was busy for a different reason.
Police estimated that nearly 13,000 people marched down Market Street in the morning for the St. Louis Women’s March. The march was intended to coincide with the Women’s March on Washington in Washington, D.C. In the end, women’s marches became a global event on Saturday.
The St. Louis march aimed to support various issues regarding women’s rights but also included things like race, immigration and also to protest President Trump.
Marcher Molly Cohen said she was there to support more than just women’s rights.
“I’m here because I think it is important to stand up for all kinds of causes,” Cohen said. “I’m here to stand up for everyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and everything else.”
The march began outside of Union Station and stretched all the way to underneath the Arch.
Marchers Jordan Shaw and Stephanie Dinges held signs that defined racism and said they were marching to bring awareness to anti-racist collectives. Shaw said they were there to protest racism, white supremacy and other problems that she finds with President Trump.
“We want to make sure [racism] is not an issue that get untalked about or left alone,” Shaw said.
Marcher Mari Gene Derusha said she is marching for love and standing up with her fellow women.
“Life is about love,” Derusha said. “There’s too much division going on in this country. We’re not protesting; we’re marching in support of love.”
Common chants repeated by the crowd included “love trumps hate,” “yes we can” and “this is what democracy looks like.”
Marcher Johnell McLean said she has been supporting women’s rights her entire life.
“It is ridiculous that we are still marching for these things today,” McLean said.
McLean is not alone in marching her entire life. Terry Hodel, 68, said she has been marching for women’s rights since she was in college in the 1960s.
“My views have not wavered in terms of what I believe in my soul,” Hodel said.
Overall the protest was peaceful, as many marchers thanked police officers on duty for their hard work and for letting the marchers safely use Market Street.
Marcher Brenda Olivares held a sign with that read “marching for my granddaughters” with photos of her two young granddaughters.
“I am here today for all of the children,” Olivares said. “I don’t think a lot of young people realize that it hasn’t been that long since women didn’t have the right over their own bodies. And we cannot lose that.”