All around the country Saturday, people came together in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington D.C. At Five Corners, more than a hundred people gathered to honor these sister marches and take a stand for women’s rights. There were women, men, children, members of the LGBT and the Brazilian community in attendance. When asked why they came out to demonstrate, people gave varied answers, but the most common was they couldn’t travel to Washington or Boston and felt they needed to mobilize to support women’s rights.
Organizer Susan Desmarais told The Times she hoped this would be an opportunity for young people and those who couldn’t get off-Island to voice their opinions. “My hope is that, for those of us whose voices were not heard in this election, this will be an empowering and inspiring way that we can prevent going backward,” she said.
“The comments Trump has made about women and immigrants is awful,” said Moira Silva, who came out with her son and mother-in-law. “His agenda is not my agenda and he does not represent what America is about.”
Many of the event’s participants were young girls, who made their own signs and happily waved to honking cars with family members by their sides. For most of the girls, and some of the adults, it was their first public demonstration. Many said that although they haven’t historically attended public demonstrations, they felt called to action.
“This is the first time my daughters’ future is threatened,” said Chris Valley. “One is autistic and [Trump’s] mocking of disabled people was a disgrace. He has no respect for the disabled community.”
For some, coming out to Five Corners was an act of positivity rather than negativity. “I’m trying to show my solidarity, not my opposition,” said Arielle Hayes of Hayes Design and We Stand Together. “We care here on Martha’s Vineyard, even if we can’t be elsewhere. We are letting people know that we are here.”
Ms. Hayes has been making t-shirts and signs to distribute to marches around the country that say peace, love, solidarity, and action. “He-who-must-not-be-named is already taking things that people need away from them. Peace, love, and solidarity are great but we have to be active,” said Hayes.
“I’m not marching against anything, but for things,” said Kim Fuson. “I don’t hate anyone. But Trump is a buffoon.”
Ms. Fuson came to Five Corners to rally for reproductive rights and the LGBT community. She and her wife Barbara Seidman will be celebrating their third wedding anniversary in March, though they have been together for 39 years, and are frightened by the things that President Trump and Vice President Pence have said. As a former Indiana resident, Ms. Fuson has heard stories that upset her from friends and family who still live there about living in Indiana under former Governor Pence.
“They’ve dismantled Planned Parenthood in Terre Haute,” said Ms. Fuson. “I’m 63 years old; I shouldn’t have to march for reproductive rights. We should be moving forward not backward.”
The demonstrators also expressed concern about the presidential administration’s stance on immigration. Meiroka Nunes immigrated to Martha’s Vineyard from Brazil 13 years ago and is worried about what life will be like in America for new immigrants. Ms. Nunes enthusiastically waved to passing cars and chatted with friends, while draped in an American flag. She said she is proud to be an American and that she can raise her three sons here.
“I want my people living here to be free,” she said. “I came here from Brazil because of the violence and difficulty finding work and I want my people to be able to do the same. I am so proud that I live here.”