Viola Davis, Scarlett Johansson, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were among those who rallied the thousands of people who took to downtown Los Angeles to march in protest of President Donald Trump and to call attention the #MeToo movement, pledging to continue to resist Trump’s policies.
Coming a year after Trump’s inauguration, the Los Angeles Women’s March was one of many held coast-to-coast, including at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The Los Angeles iteration was a star-studded event, drawing the likes of Eva Longoria, Marisa Tomei and Natalie Portman.
The march, which began at Pershing Square and ended at Grand Park, drew thousands of people clutching handmade signs. Many participants wore pink hats as a counter-symbol to Trump’s lewd remarks of grabbing women by the p—y. This year’s march comes amid the #MeToo movement, which has called attention to pervasive sexual harassment at the hands of powerful individuals.
In between musical performances by Idina Menzel, Rachel Platten, and others, celebrities took to the main stage, where they delivered fiery speeches criticizing Trump, specifically over his immigration policies.
Johansson, who was representing the Time’s Up campaign, told the crowd that in recent months, she had begun examining why sexual harassment so frequently happens to women.
In examining her own behavior, she said she had previously felt the need to be polite to the powerful in order to get along. “It allowed me to have the approval that women are conditioned to need,” she said. But no longer.
Her new motto, she said, is “no more pandering,” adding that she would no longer feel guilt or shame over rebuffing men who behave inappropriately towards her.
Davis, the Academy Award-winning actress, called on protesters to become politically active and to put pressure on the government to work for all.
“It is through human dedication and effort that we move forward,” Davis declared to loud cheers. “And then when we don’t work, what happens is that time actually becomes an ally to the primitive forces of social stagnation. And the guardians of the status quo are in their oxygen tanks, keeping the old order alive.”
Mayor Garcetti, often touted as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, gave a speech highlighting the progress women have made in city government. He also took aim at Trump and his penchant for using social media.
“Mr. President, you have have your tweets, but we own these streets,” Garcetti said.
Numerous other celebrities made appearances on the rally stage, including Allison Janney, Tony Goldwyn, Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott, Mary Steenburgen and husband Ted Danson, Sarah Hyland, Mila Kunis, Eva Longoria, and Rob Reiner.
The sea of people gathered at Grand Park came from all over the southland. They held signs that said, “Grab ‘em by the midterms.” Others read, “This is my resisting bitch face” and “voting is the best revenge.”
Julia Santana, 16, of West Covina, came with her mother, 47-year-old Carolina, a stay-at-home mom who criticized Trump, though not by name.
“I’m here in protest of the person in the White House,” Carolina said. “As long as he is in office, I will be here protesting.”
Shawnet Sweets, 57, a movie theater attendant from Los Angeles, attended the rally with her mother, Contance McClendon, a retired investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that investigates discrimination complaints.
“My main issue is impeachment,” McClendon said. “Congress is not working for the people.”
Sweets lamented that many of the same issues being protested now were the same issues her mother once protested.
“We’re here fighting the same fight my mom had in the ’60s,” Sweets said.
Nevertheless, she expressed optimism. “I’m impressed with all the young people,” she said. “It gives me hope for the future.”