Hundreds joined the Oxford Women’s March on the Square, in step with hundreds of thousands of others in Washington, D.C., and around the globe to support people who might be at risk in the current political climate today.
The march was organized by a group of local women including Oxford resident and retired school teacher Susan Fino.
Fino said the day before the march they were only expecting around 150 participants, including a group from nearby Tupelo. The turnout was more than triple what the organizers had originally expected.
Originally, the marchers had received a permit to march on the sidewalk around the Square, but during the beginning of the event, a city council member called and told the organizers they had been granted access to march on the street. The crowd erupted in cheers.
Unitarian Universalist Church of Oxford Reverend Gail Stratton gave the keynote speech before marchers took their first steps toward solidarity.
“We do not live in a bubble,” Stratton said. “This is the United States…the people who care for the rights of everyone are the majority, and we must make our voices heard.”
More than a dozen Oxford marchers, both men and women, wore pink and black cat hats in reference to President Donald Trump’s leaked comments with Billy Bush.
Oxford resident Ellen Shelton and her husband Mickey Shelton wore hats she had knitted herself.
“We made them quickly,” Shelton said.
Shelton said she wanted to knit the hats so she could wear them for today’s march and in support of friends.
Many homemade signs were displayed as well as hand-written messages on T-shirts.
Whitman Smith, director of admissions at Ole Miss, wrote in marker on a plain white shirt: “Super bad, super rad, feminist dad.”
“I didn’t choose (the wording); my daughter did,” Smith said.
Smith said he marches for his daughter, who also marched.
“I march because I believe everyone deserves equality, and we don’t have it,” Smith said.
One marcher wore a T-shirt that said “A woman’s place is in the house, the senate and oval office.” Another marcher toted a red, white and blue print of a woman donning an American flag hijab. More than a dozen demonstrators carried gay pride flags.
The event included an action wall where demonstrators were asked to write what they were going to do to advance the cause of equality and human rights.
The multicolored Post-it notes scattered across the wall read “I am going to call my congressman,” “Support Planned Parenthood,” “I will speak out” and more messages.
“This is an act of courage,” Stratton said of Oxford’s march.