D.C. Dispatch: Coloradans Make History at Women’s March on Washington

Colorado Pride at the Women's March on Washington.
Colorado Pride at the Women's March on Washington. Chris Walker
While tens of thousands of women headed to Civic Center Park on January 21 for the Women's March on Denver, hundreds of Coloradans had already traveled from the Centennial State to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Women’s March on Washington.

At 8 a.m. yesterday, many of them gathered at a church near the Capitol to rally and then march down to the National Mall together. In the sea of “pussyhats,” members of the Colorado contingent stood out with their bright beanies, sashes and flags sporting the red-and-yellow “C” of the Colorado state flag.

“Not to brag, but I think we’re the best contingent in the country!” shouted one of the four main organizers, Tikneshia Beauford of Denver. “And there will be over 30,000 participating in Denver. We’re kicking butt!”

(At that point in the morning, no one knew that Denver would actually see well over 100,000 people flood Civic Center and downtown in solidarity with the march in D.C.)

click to enlarge CHRIS WALKER
Chris Walker
Coloradans had traveled from cities across the state to be in Washington for the march, which drew half a million people to the National Mall on Saturday, dwarfing the crowd at President Donald Trump's inauguration the day before, on January 20.  

Many of the participants came from up and down the Front Range — Denver, Fort Collins, Lyons, Longmont, Boulder, Colorado Springs – and a few journeyed from much smaller towns, including Ridgeway on the Western Slope.

Organizers had covered the trips of thirteen Colorado marchers; over the past month, the Colorado organizers had raised money and then selected thirteen individuals — women who represented marginalized groups — from many applications for subsidies.

click to enlarge Coloradans gather before the big march. - CHRIS WALKER
Coloradans gather before the big march.
Chris Walker
Others came with friends and family members.

Four members of the Perry family from Longmont came together from three separate states to march in D.C.  Erin and Camryn Perry, 22-year-old twin sisters, traveled from universities they’re attending in Virginia and New York. Their older sister, Kendall, came from Denver. And their mother, Karen, traveled from Longmont.

All felt proud to be representing Colorado in the nation’s capital. They also felt strongly about the messages behind the march. “During the campaign, [Trump] said a lot of things about women that I can’t just let fly," said Erin.

“We want proper representation,” added Camryn, “and at this point, I don’t think the current administration is representative.”

Their mother, Karen, who was on Colorado contingent's PR committee, said she bought her plane ticket to D.C. on November 12, as soon as she heard about the Women’s March. “There was also a national call for volunteers, and I filled out [a form] immediately,” she recalled, explaining how she became involved with the Colorado chapter. Four other women were chosen to be the main organizers, but it took many volunteers to coordinate the Colorado chapter and make the showing in D.C. a success.

click to enlarge One Colorado participant made it clear why she was in D.C. for the march. - CHRIS WALKER
One Colorado participant made it clear why she was in D.C. for the march.
Chris Walker
At 9 a.m., the Colorado chapter left the church where it had gathered to attend the rally near the National Mall; it was immediately swallowed by the immensity of the crowd. With at least 500,000 rallying in D.C., it was impossible for most marchers to get close enough to the main stage to hear any of the speakers or see any performances. But that didn't matter.

click to enlarge People as far as the eye can see. - CHRIS WALKER
People as far as the eye can see.
Chris Walker
For Wendy Divilio, one of the Colorado organizers, it was empowering just to be part of a much larger statement.

She marveled aloud at the diversity and size of the crowd around her: “This is amazing, that so many people were moved to come here from all over the country...and from around the world! I’ve heard French, I’ve heard Spanish, I’ve heard German.

“This is going to be in the books," she decided. "This is historic.”
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Walker is a freelancer and former staff writer at Westword. Before moving to the Mile High City he spent two years bicycling across Eurasia, during which he wrote feature stories for VICE, NPR, Forbes, and The Atlantic. Read more of Chris's feature work and view his portfolio here.
Contact: Chris Walker