They came by the thousands to Queen's Park in downtown Toronto on Saturday. They were people of all ages, cultures, genders, abilities and faiths. They came to march. They came to support. They came to fight hate with love.
And they made sure to pick up after themselves as they marched through the core of the city. How Canadian.
The Toronto Women's March was a peaceful show of solidarity with the Women's March in Washington, D.C., and that was the goal for some of the event's many attendees. We spoke to some of the participants on why it was important for them as Canadians to march.
Ashley Catania and Marco Galego
Ashley: "I do want this march to showcase that Canadians should and do care about what's happening in the [United] States right now. It's important to show that their politics are our politics. Trump, the things he's said and done to date have offended people from around the world, doesn't matter where you live — if you're a woman, if you're a minority, you've been affected and you've been hurt. And it's important to speak out against that."
Marco: "It's a global attitude that we need to have. The U.S. is one of the most powerful countries in the world and Canada is its number one ally, and it's important for us to influence them just as much as they influence us. It's very important that things are changing a lot, and we had a great eight years with Obama, and things went in a very good direction. And yes, politics do change and change is good, but this type of change is not good for anybody, and just because we had eight years of Democrats doesn't mean it's time for a bad Republican."
"I want to show my support, solidarity with all the people, Americans. It's very important. They are my neighbours, and they are over there, also combat with all the Trump-style policies, and that's very dangerous. Because it's divided. Build a wall — we're trying to build a bridge, we're not building a wall. And if you want to build a wall, we're building a wall surrounding you right now. That's our wall ... of love. We'll show you that, if you want a wall, you have one now."
Maya Brathwaite and Sophie Brathwaite, age 8
Maya: "If we all raise our voice and if we pay attention — we have to pay attention to what's going on — then we hold everyone accountable. Not only Mr. Trump, but everyone he surrounds himself with. So we will not be silenced. They have intentionally placed a misogynistic, racist man in the White House and they call themselves the leaders of the free world. Well, as of yesterday, you're no longer leaders. You're no longer suitable, you're no longer acceptable, and we've decided that we're not going to follow you.
"We're going to work against you, we're going to pay attention to everything that you do, and we're going to make sure that our future, our daughters' future, is taken care of. So, he wants to be president of the United States? Well, that's fine. Now you know who you are accountable to. And that we're paying attention, and that our voices will be lifted up. We have been silenced for way too long."
Sophie: "I don't want this to be the future. I don't want to have to live in a dangerous place, and I don't want to be separated, not be able to go back to see my uncles and aunties in other places ... I think that women are very important, especially because I am one. And that black people have to have their rights and stuff like that. 'Cause we're the same thing as white people, and we're the same thing as anybody else."
"I want to spread the message that love is all there is, and that's what we're really seeking ultimately. I'm actually excited so many people are waking up, are feeling passionate about something, and are paying attention to what governments are doing now. And I think it's time for us all to be charge for a change."
Brennan Kirby, Toronto
"I think this is the beginning of a global movement. We had the solidarity rallies all around the world, and as terrible as the result and Trump as president is, I think this is spurring a global movement of driving that conversation, that we're not going backwards, we're going forwards. As much as he's an American president, this is a global issue now, because of the times we live in and just in terms of what America stands for, in terms of democracy and freedom in the world."
Olivia Chow, former Toronto city councillor
'I'm here because of (granddaughter) Beatrice and (daughter-in-law) Sarah, and for the future of young women. Because we need to say no to violence, we have to seek equality and better justice.
"I think we're also sending a message to the elected people, whether it's City Hall right here, Queen's Park or Parliament Hill, that the policies and the budget, there has to be gender equity. i.e. there needs to be investment in public transit, in more affordable housing so women leaving violence are able to find a home, and better education for our young people and our children and affordable childcare, because right now, one of my granddaughters, her childcare cost for her dad and mom, is like $25,000 plus. It's so expensive. So there's so much we can do to make sure there's gender equity.
"We need to say to racialized communities, black, Muslim, LGBTQ, Indigenous people, that are getting discriminated, whether it's here or elsewhere, that we stand with them."
Rochelle Myers Pollmann
I have daughters, and especially being a racialized minority, I think it's important to stand up for civil rights, and I've created change agents in my children ... I need to ensure that they're able to practice that. So seeing a collective, of the importance of human rights is important to get them immersed in at a younger age.
"And also just to send a message to our fellow brothers and sisters that we're there to support you, especially with all the oppression that continues to go on. Canada and America are not really that different, it's more covert here. So, I think it's time, it's an awakening."
These interviews have been condensed.
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