Thousands of women, men, children, grandchildren, state legislators and City Council members turned out in the rain today to march around the state Capitol in a sign of solidarity with millions of others around the country pushing for women’s rights — and, in many cases, to rebuke the presidency of Donald Trump.
Barbra Pleadwell, spokeswoman for the “Oahu Women’s March” estimated the turnout at 3,000 to 5,000 and said thousands more were reported on Maui.
Before the march and speeches began, organizers were hoping that 2,500 would show up at the state Capitol, where parking was tight for a Saturday and rain fell throughout the morning.
The Honolulu marchers carried hand-written signs reading, “Resistance is Fertile,” “No Country For Old White Men,” “We Shall Overcomb,” “Repeal and Replace Trump,” “America Needs A Leader Not A Tweeter” along with others that were sometimes laced with profanities.
As Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy” played on the public address system, Shannon Cristobal, 41, of Makiki, sat with her 13-year-old daughter, Christian, and said, “I want to encourage her. I want her to know that her voice matters.”
Christian, an 8th grader at Mid-Pacific Institute, said “I believe all woman should have equal rights.”
State Rep. Cynthia Thielen, (R, Kailua-Kaneohe,) stood on stage with a sash replicated from the women’s suffrage movement of a century ago that read, “Votes for Women.”
Thielen said her daughter, state Sen. Laura Thielen, (D, Hawaii Kai-Waimanalo-Kailua), and Laura Thielen’s daughters — ages 20 and 23 — were participating in the much larger women’s march in Washington at the same moment.
Her granddaughters, Cynthia Thielen said, “are not being quiet. They’re speaking out. I am so proud of my granddaughters back in Washington.”
“We struggled in the ’70s,” Thielen said. “I’ve seen the struggles. I hope the Trump Administration hears us and I say that as a Republican.”
Cathy Betts, the executive director of the Commission on the Status of Women, called today’s march “a baptism” for many who marched in the rain.
“We’re here to uplift each other,” Betts said. “But we will also resist all efforts to turn back the tide on women’s rights.”