A crowd member cheers during Pastor Charlotte Williams’ speech at the Women’s March. (Photo: Staff)

Thousands of people marched through the North Shore and downtown to elevate marginalized voices and address issues surrounding gender equality during the Women’s March Saturday.

“Last year’s march grew out of a need to have our voices heard in a time when politics is becoming increasingly partisan, and the policy that comes out of that political climate often disregards women’s rights to sovereignty,” organizers said in a news release.

This year’s event was a continuation of last year’s movement, which spread across the country when thousands in cities nationwide took to the streets to stand up for women’s rights and protest President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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“Coming out once in the face of injustice is powerful, but continuing to come out, to speak up, to band together, to demand better—that’s when sustained effort can turn into real change,” organizers also said.

Saturday’s event began at 11:30 a.m. in Coolidge Park with a series of speakers who called on those in attendance to stand together.

Anyang Ayai, a high school student, spoke first and focused on the women who helped jump-start each wave of the feminist movement.

“Here’s to strong women,” Ayai said. “May we know them, may we be them, and may we raise them.”

Pastor Charlotte Williams spoke next.

“This is what democracy looks like,” she said, telling the crowd to take a look at themselves. “This is what freedom looks like. This is what liberation looks like, and this is what love looks like.”

Before the opening speeches ended, master of ceremonies Alaina Cobb referenced the 2017 “me too” movement and asked the crowd if they or someone they know had been sexually assaulted. A majority of hands went into the air.

“Look around you; you’re not alone,” Cobb said. “We are going to change this.”

The march started at about noon and lasted until about 1 p.m.

Protesters walked from Coolidge Park, across the Market Street Bridge, through downtown and back to the park.

As the march progressed through town, several sections of the procession chanted phrases such as “love, not hate” and “no Nazis, no KKK, no fascist USA.”

Some people cheered on the participants from their cars or as they walked by.

The march ended with some musical performances and more speeches.

Click here for more information.

Check out the photo gallery below.

Anyang Ayai, the first speaker at the Women’s March, led other protesters in a chant. (Photo: Staff)
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