Why the Women's March on Washington Broke Google

Why the Women's March on Washington Broke Google By Margaret Gardiner

The Women's March on Washington broke google. Participants surpassed the limit of google form responses which may be unprecedented. Google had to set up a second form that is used as a head count, and the site advises people not to share links or fill out forms that are not navigated from womenmarch.com as there have been reports of on-line forms impersonating the one on the site. At this point more than 200 000 women are expected to turn up.

2017-01-20-1484925493-3837685-IMG_23562.JPG Passengers en route to the Women's March On Washington the day of the Inauguration - Photo by Margaret Gardiner

Along with the many statements of excitement at participating in a march to highlight unity and diversity, there is also a slight nervousness. On the Official Facebook page some are expressing wariness at potential clashes with Trump supporters, but the overall consensus seems to be that this will be a peaceful demonstration. The march's focus is about including the excluded, and those voices are coming together in a powerful statement.

Inflammatory remarks about minorities by the incoming President have created an anti-PC climate. Given that many feel that dissension doesn't lead to discussion, but frames one an enemy resulting in mocking, threats and labels used to control and limit, the stance seems to be that its important to conduct oneself with decorum. Peaceful protest as a counter to some of the outrageous commentary that has become acceptable. "Trump supporters get the inauguration. The rest get the day after," said one woman, "There's no reason to clash." Though Preyel Patel, who is meeting her boyfriend's two mums and a friend in DC, notes, "When we march there will be a new President. Protest takes courage. It could get scary."

Susanne and Tim Keaveny are flying in from Oregon to protest Trump's inauguration and then staying on to participate in the Women's March on Washington. Tim who will be carrying a sign with the words: Hate & Fear encircled with a prohibitive sign, says people ask him why he is going to a woman's march. "Because I have a wife and a daughter, and because Trump does not reflect what we stand for. He doesn't conduct himself in a presidential manner. He doesn't have dignity. His behavior doesn't represent the office of the United States of America." Adds his wife, "The march is the icing on the cake to his election. A beautiful result of everyone's feelings and a demonstration that he cannot get away with the things he's advocating."

She shares a story of a friend in the State of Washington, a Sikh, who because of his religion wears a turban. He got a letter that stated: 'Now America is great again you have to stop wearing that thing on your head.' They don't even know the difference. He's a father and a husband and now he is living in a community aware that an unknown neighbor is threatening him. I'm hoping for positive change."

In Boston a taxi driver from Bangladesh who has been in the country for 15 years and is now an American working two jobs shared his experience. "I was at a traffic light and this mini van stopped next to me with a father and two boys. They started laughing and pointing at me. I thought I had something on my face, so looked in my rearview mirror. I looked normal, so I gestured - what? The youngest kid lifts a Trump hat and points to it, and then points to me making a gesture across his throat. And then everyone in the car laughed. In all my fifteen years nothing like this has every happened to me."

Tessa Misiaszek is driving in with a friend who is ten weeks pregnant. "We've made a pact to look after each other. We're hoping it's peaceful, but we have an exit plan." She says in a soft strong voice. "I'm going to occupy space. To stand with other women in recognition that while we have advanced our rights in significant ways, the fight isn't over. Not only do we need to stand up for women's rights, but we also have to stand to protect the civil rights of our LGBTQ community, for disabled communities, for our environment, for healthcare, and for education. When women unite, we're an unstoppable force and I look forward to a day of hope and inspiration."

And that is why women are signing the form on WomenMarchonWashington.com in such numbers. Explains Amanda Mahlman, "Donald Trump's win mobilized a generation that has not been active politically before. It's a grass roots movement of volunteers. Young women who have never been involved in activism are marching locally or going to Washington. His election is empowering people as never before."

Judith J is attending with her 16 year old daughter at the daughter's behest. "When my daughter asked me if she could attend the march I decided to go with her." She'd never participated in a protest movement before, so what made this one different? "I want the new administration to know that women's rights, and everyone's rights, matter."

The Women's March on Washington will start at 10am On January 21, at the intersection of Independence Avenue and 3rd Street near the US capital. It is not a ticketed event; no tickets are required. See-through backpacks are the only kind that will be allowed and the size of purses etc are restricted. Go to: womensmarch.com for further updates. Margaret Gardiner will be live tweeting @MargaretGGG