If the mood in Washington, D.C. for the Presidential Inauguration was somber and funereal (and spent avoiding men in red hats), the energy in the air on the National Mall for the Women’s March was giddy with excitement and accessorized in shades of pink pussy hats. One attendee marveled, "I think I have enough positive energy to keep me going for the next four years. So much love here."
Despite all of the artistic and profane posters demonstrators brought with them — elegantly rendered uteruses outlined in black and white, giant-sized bloody tampons with googly-eye smiles, ample pink vagina signage, Trump effigies with tiny appendages, battered Lady Liberties, and a conga line of picketers wielding the busts of famous feminists like Notorious RBG— the message behind the raunchy signs and clever jibes was something much simpler. When I asked marchers what they’d like to say to our new President Trump, their responses were remarkably even-handed and of one mind: listen, have compassion, and do your job. Essentially, act and think more like...well, a woman.
“If I could say anything to our president...listen to the people around you who have experience. We trust the democratic process, but at the same time, you have to listen to your people.” — Katherine, 23
“My message would be please find compassion. Recognize that all Americans are diverse and we’re all immigrants, we’re all of different races, different origins, different religions. We all want similar goals: healthy, happy lives.” — Sabah, 30 from California (right); left, Amy, 35
“We need to respect Mother Earth first.” — Michelle, 43 from D.C.
“Figure out how to surrender the me to the we because it’s we, all of us, that matter, not just him.” — Kim Stentinello, from Chicago, far left
“Be open to listening to others who you feel may not agree with what you have to say. It’s when we come together and work together that great things can happen in this country. If we shut ourselves down, nothing good will come from that.” — Sister Dietrich, from the Baltimore house of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence At left, Sister Leviticus, from Los Angeles
“I’m praying for you, Trump. Truly. Take your time, stop tweeting, and think before you act. Think before you push the button.” — Sandy, from Bowie, Arkansas
“I have a message for Mr. Trump: please read the Constitution. All of it. Not just the amendments you like.” — Kerry Simpson, took a 14-hour overnight bus to the march from Chicago
“A lot of my friends who voted for [Trump] say give him a chance. Well, I’m trying. Try! I want him to try. Just give us some frickin’ effort.” — Anne MacDonald, at center, from Greenville, Ohio
“Think about the people, everybody, every single one of them. And fear God in all of your decisions.” — Yusra, teacher from New Jersey
“This pussy bites.” — Kate Rice, Chicago (not pictured)
“March forward, not backward.” — Tracy, a social worker from Ohio who drove to the D.C. march with 6 friends in a van (not pictured)
“...did you hear crickets?” — T. Lewis, 52 from D.C. (not pictured)
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Katie Salisbury is a writer, editor, and photographer living in New York City. You can find her at katiesalisbury.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.