Allred, a women’s rights attorney, led attendees in a chant of “Resist. Persist. Insist. Elect.”
“I’m so proud of you and your courage. Give yourself a round of applause for standing up for women’s rights!” Allred shouted to the crowd, standing proudly in freezing temperatures. “This marks the end of fear being used as a weapon to silence women…this is the year that women’s voices have been heard…and the year we said to rich, powerful, famous men, ‘You can break out hearts, but you cannot break our silence!’”
Leading a loud chant, Allred stood on stage at the rally, speaking, “We demand our rights! We demand the right to be free of sexual assault, rape and abuse…we demand the right to control our bodies and our rights…we demand the right to afford legal, safe and free abortions…we demand the right to get contraceptives while men are getting Viagra!”
Fonda, the Oscar-winning actress and progressive icon, encouraged the assembled to join grassroots organizations.
“Get Congress back,” she said. “Everything is at stake…we can do it. Time is up!”
“Creed” star Tessa Thompson was the first celebrity to take the stage, and used her speech to draw parallels between the annual celebration of cinema and the pushback against President Donald Trump.
“Until we see legislation and policy and a president who respects our humanity…we must continue to gather and tell each other’s stories,” said Thompson. “We are here to say Mr. Trump…your time and power may not yet be up, but our time to stay silent is.”
Common delivered an empowering speech, and also rapped up on the stage with lyrics that asked the question, What if women ruled the world? He gave shoutouts to women such as former First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyonce and Oprah.
Other Hollywood figures who took the stage were Lena Waithe, Nick Offerman and Maria Bello, along with a group of young, female activists who performed a poem written by Bello.
As snow fell at the rate of an inch an hour, the temperature fell to 22 degrees, and traffic crawled to a stop, the crowd gathered in a Park City athletic field to mark the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration and the women’s rallies that sprang up around the country and the world. They waved signs that read “Dream Act Now,” “Free Melania,” “Make Russia Great Again,” and “Our Rights Are Not Up For Grabs.” In one of the more imaginative protests, Nina Kaufman, a Salt Lake City-based performance artist, stripped to a sports bra and rolled down a long banner adorned with a poem about the environment. As she wiped snow off and sipped coffee, Kaufman told Variety that she had been retired for 15 years, but had been spurred into action by the #MeToo movement.
“There’s been a shift in momentum,” she said. “The masculine voice has been heard for years and it’s time for the feminine voice to be heard and respected more.”
The crowd was more modest than last year’s gathering — an event that drew 4,000 people and the likes of Chelsea Handler, Laura Dern, and Charlize Theron. But the message was the same — a call for tolerance, a shared sense of outrage against the perceived misogyny and racism of the Trump administration, and a impassioned ode to the power of grassroots movements.
“When we are equal, we are not abused,” said Fonda. “This kind of change doesn’t just come about through protest. It comes through organizing.”