Women’s March in Denver moves beyond protest of Trump

The 2018 Women’s March in Denver, as well as its counterpart rallies across the country, highlighted that those pushing for equality are less shocked and fearful of the future than they were a year ago and more energized about affecting change.
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The 2018 Women’s March, Jan. 20, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) protest; rally; copolitics; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;

The 2018 Women's March, Jan. 20, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A steady drumbeat led thousands of people through the streets of downtown Denver on Saturday during the second annual Women's March.

Some protesters waved signs targeting President Donald Trump directly, calling back to his infamous, misogynistic comments about grabbing women's genitalia. Others looked forward, encouraging people to vote in the upcoming 2018 election and for lawmakers to protect immigrants who came into the United States illegally as children.

The 2018 Women's March in Denver, as well as its counterpart rallies across the country, highlighted that those pushing for equality are less shocked and fearful of the future than they were a year ago. They're more energized about affecting change.

Organizers in the Mile High City, in particular, worked to bring more men and people of color into a conversation about inequality. Their effort bore fruit Saturday with the march in Denver being led by people from a variety of races and backgrounds.

Laura Maranjo walks with burning incense at the front of the 2018 Women's March in Denver, Jan. 20, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Saturday's event was the first Women's March for Nicole Cooks who walked alongside her daughter and friends. The Denver resident, who identifies as black and Mexican, was impressed with the diversity of those participating in the demonstration.

"It's important when you have kids to show them you can't sit down all the time," Cooks said. "Sometimes you have to stand up."

Rebecca Montoya stood holding a "Pass DACA now" sign at the rally.

"It's relevant," the Littleton octogenarian said. "I'm all for civil rights, women's rights, and human rights. But right now, this is the moment for DACA."

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — commonly known as DACA — was on the minds of many Saturday. The 2018 Women's March took place mere hours after U.S. senators failed to reach a compromise to fund the federal government.  Democrats, including Sen. Michael Bennet from Colorado, said they were holding out for protections for young people facing deportation after the end of the DACA program.

"Without a strategy, the president chose to end the DACA protections and urged Congress to legislate a solution. In response, a bipartisan group of senators worked for months and reached an agreement to protect the dreamers. This should be part of any long-term budget package," Bennet said in a statement.

The 2018 Women's March. Civic Center Park, Jan. 20, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the day was about making sure people's voices are heard.

"Today, we march for our sisters, our mothers, our grandmothers. We march for our daughters, and yes, for our sons. We march for fairness and justice for all — for equality. We march for human rights and equal rights," Hancock said. "And yes Donald Trump, we march for our dreamers today."

Hancock said we can expect people to keep marching, keep resisting and show up to the polls in November for the mid-term election. Many are interested in whether Republican lawmakers will be able to maintain their control over Congress.

10-year-old Willow leads chants as the 2018 Women's March proceeds up 14th Avenue, Jan. 20, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado Rep. Rhonda Fields, an Aurora Democrat, said she hoped the energy on display as people marched in front of her office at the Capitol would not peter out in coming months.

"We're fired up and ready to make an impact on the 2018 election in November," Fields said. "This is about going to the polls to elect people that hold our values."

Milo Marquez said he wished more men showed up as he watched marchers circle the Colorado Capitol before pouring into Civic Center Park to hear speakers talk about equality and the challenges fairness faces. The Denver resident was at the demonstration with Alix Vargas and their six-year-old son Jack.

"It's important he understands if you get out things can change, especially, for his generation," Vargas said as nearby Jack joined in the protest chants marchers sang out.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at [email protected] or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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