Landon Forester sat in his stroller Saturday afternoon grinning as he clutched a pink sign that read: “Equality is a Family Value.”
The 1-year-old, his 3-year-old brother Levi and their mother, LaToya Lee, waited in front of the Fayette Circuit Court for the Lexington Women’s March to begin.
Lee said she couldn’t make to Washington, D.C., for the women’s march there on Saturday. As a working mother of two toddlers, it wasn’t an option. But she said she was thankful that Lexington had its own march so her voice could be heard.
“It just feels like our duty,” Lee said.
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Thousands of women, along with thousands of men, gathered in downtown Lexington for the march, which started on the courthouse plaza. Lexington police on Twitter estimated the crowd at “5,000+ people.”
The event, organized by the Kentucky National Organization for Women, intended to provide “a safe and accepting platform for supporters of equality to march in promotion of civil rights for every human regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, religion or creed.”
Many of Saturday’s speakers encouraged the thousands who attended to continue to fight after Saturday’s march.
“Show up, dive in and stay at it,” the Rev. Marsha Moors-Charles of Bluegrass United Church of Christ told the crowd as she quoted former president Barack Obama.
Many of the homemade signs Saturday criticized President Donald Trump.
“You can’t comb over hate,” one sign read.
Other signs were directed at Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.
“Bevin must learn to trust women,” one sign said.
The dozen or so speakers included ministers, activists, poets, writers and Democratic elected officials.
Writer Silas House told the crowd he was appalled that Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women and was still elected president. “Men need to stand up and speak out against rape culture,” House said.
State Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, said she came Saturday because so many people in Kentucky are not being heard by leaders in Frankfort or Washington.
“I am here today because black lives matter,” Scott said. “I am here today as a woman who needs those men in Frankfort out of my business. I am here today walking for and walking with people who have survived another day because of the Affordable Care Act. I am here for single mothers like me and for people who are bisexual, lesbian, gay and transgender.”
Lexington Councilwoman Angela Evans reminded the crowd to stay involved and engaged in local government.
“I need to show up at city hall,” Evans said. “You matter to the city of Lexington.”
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the only female Democrat currently holding statewide office, reminded the crowd that just five days before — Jan. 16 — the nation paused to remember and celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She encouraged the crowd to imitate King’s protests.
“Non-violent civil disobedience is how we change this world,” Grimes said. “I’m here to march to say, ‘It ain’t over.’”