“This is just the beginning,” chanted the event’s emcee and march leader, Adora Nwofor.
“We stand for inclusion. We stand for diversity. We stand for women’s rights.”
The Calgary march was one of dozens across Canada, as tens of thousands of people braved January weather to to express their support for equality, and their opposition to newly inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump.
Worldwide, the Women’s March on Washington amassed some two million supporters, with events taking place in many major cities from Berlin to Melbourne, Australia,
The Calgary event started at the Famous Five statue in Olympic Plaza.
The statue honours the women who fought for women’s right to vote and the right to be recognized as persons, under the Canadian constitution.
Nwofor then led the crowd, which organizers estimated to be more than 3,000 people, across Macleod Trail to City Hall, where speeches were held.
“It was incredible,” said Beth Gignac, one of the event organizers.
“Hundreds of thousands of people all around the world are gathering together, on one day, to say that all of our rights matter.”
“This is how we choose to be civilized, that’s what the movement is all about,” added Gignac.
Max Haupapa, a Vancouver native, attended the rally and said he was impressed with the overwhelming support for not just women, but all those, “that have been oppressed.”
“I loved the fact that they changed it from only being about women’s rights,” he said.
“This is about indigenous murdered women, black lives matter, this is about women’s rights and human rights.”
Another supporter, Joan Chand’oiseau, attended the march with her daughter Layne, and said, it was important for her, and her daughter, “to stand and fight like pervious women, like Nellie McClung.”
“It makes the learning experience, the history, and the future real for us.”
“It was great to see people standing up for what they believe in,” added Layne, who was currently working on a school project, about the famous Canadian suffragette, McClung, who was one of the famous five.
“They did an amazing job with the line-up of speakers,” Chand’oiseau said.
“They were unique and diverse. Because we are so inclusive as Canadians, they spoke for all of us.”
There were indigenous speakers, and blessings placed in acknowledgment of Treaty 7 land, as well as a female band that covered the ’70s pop anthem ‘I am Women’, with background vocals supplied by the hundreds of supports huddled together.
Nwofor also took time to acknowledge the women who started the March on Washington and the over 600 sister marches that took place around the world.
“I want to thank the women who are here, the men who are here, and the non-binary persons that are here, because, we are all equal. Period,” said Nwofor.
“Calgary is a community of many religions, faiths, new Canadians, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ, indigenous people, people of color, people with disabilities, people of all ages. We are all here today to rally together in support of that diversity and inclusion, and the fact that our voices, can, will, and must make a difference.”
As for next year, the organizers haven’t planned an event yet. But with the success of this year’s Women’s March on Washington, the event could become something of a tradition.
“I don’t know what we do next,” said Gignac.
“I don’t know what we’ll do next week, but what I know for sure is that we’re going to do something.”