Reflections on Inauguration Weekend

Reported by Yuval Lev and James Harnett, Photos by Yuval Lev and Colin O'Brien | 22 January 2017 at 4:50PM

These passionate Democrats came out last night to support Planned Parenthood at our Thanks Obama Ball. These are their experiences from this hectic weekend.


"If it wasn't for the ACA I wouldn't have coverage through the medicare expansion. I started transitioning because I knew that a doctor could take care of me, for people like me who only represent 3% of the population but are so represented and cared for in a political party. If it wasn't for the Obama admin. I wouldn't have had a chance to be the woman I am today."

Josh Kirmsse

"Gloria Steinem summed it up: 'This is the upside to the downside.' Witnessing such a massive movement of solidarity one day after President Trump's inauguration was nothing less than profound."

Mark McKibbin

"I have never seen anything like this before. The tremendous amount of people at the march and their incredible passion affirms to me the Democratic Party is surely not dead. In fact, our sun will soon rise brighter than ever before, and this long night will end."

Alainna Belknap

"Staying home this weekend was not an option. As hard as it was to pull myself out of bed on Inauguration Day, the words Hillary Clinton spoke to young people like me in the wake of her loss rang through my head. Cynicism is not an option. This is not normal, and we cannot give up."

James Harnett

"I knew coming into the inauguration, this wasn't going to be the crowd who would reinforce my bubble I so often find myself in. As I attended the Women's March on Washington the next morning, it gave me the perspective to see how both sides do the same thing: victimize and intimidate each other. If our aim is to understand one another, and to learn how two Americans could have such polar views, we need to be ready to learn and listen."

Genevieve Cifelli

"This weekend was a lot of highs and lows for democrats at GW but tonight at the ball it will be a high, especially coming off the momentum of today's march."

Giovanna Kupiec

"I woke up the morning of the 20th with a level of depression I'd never experienced before. It took energy to do things, but I passionately made an effort to go to the Women's March and its turning out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I no longer felt alone and sad. I was with close to a million other brilliant and passionate people, feeling happy. This election has been good training for future elections. I've come out a stronger and more determined person."

Detrick Campbell

"I think unlike most people, I think I was more disinterested in another inauguration rather than this being the inauguration of someone who has redefined the American atmosphere and vision in a negative way. This inauguration reminded me of President Bush Inauguration, where there was people but no feeling of spirit. Listening to everything, I think that I have to have hope that Trump's rhetoric was only campaigning that he now is the president of all Americans not just for the people that voted for him. I have hope that the office is powerful not only to provide change to the nation but to the person that occupies the seat. And, that the American people know their power is the voice and even its softest whisper can be heard."

Caitlin Berg

"During the Women's March, my mom looked at me while Gloria Steinem was speaking and said "I grew up learning about feminism from Gloria. She was my feminist icon for so long, and now I get to hear her speak in person next to my daughter, who is listening to her feminist icons." Realizing that my mom, who first introduced me to feminism, was hearing someone who inspired her when she was younger made the whole march come into perspective for me. She, along with millions of women, have been fighting for equal rights for so long, and I am so lucky to have grown up where this was encouraged. I got to hear Cecile Richards speak yesterday. I have been talking about why I support Planned Parenthood forever, but being able to actually see the woman who is giving her all to save Planned Parenthood, was unreal, especially because I was surrounded by so many women who felt the same way as me. The energy was amazing. It gave me hope for the first time since November that we can do this."

Levi Debose

"It's odd.... It's extremely unusual to be a part of a movement that millions of people worldwide are a part, especially one that shares your beliefs, your values, and your hopes. That's what I was a part of today. I'm proud and honored to participate in the Women's March on Washington to join the resistance against the Trump Administration."

Molly Lienesch

"After Trump was elected, there was not much for Democrats to be happy about and going to the march. Today was the first time I felt empowered and hopeful since we lost in 2016. And my feet hurt."

Gabi Rossner

"On election night a huge thing for me was that the majority of the country had blatantly voted that they hated me. Of course, the majority didn't actually vote that way, but it was a feeling that for me was really hard to shake. The Women's March for me was the moment that I truly realized that, no, hate was not in the majority, love was, and it felt really good."

Vaughn Hillman

"The difference in turnout between the Trump inauguration and the women's march was very uplifting. Seeing that so many people stand as foes to the administration inspires me to take on the challenges of this administration."

Lande Watson

"One of my favorite parts of this weekend was walking over to the Women's March with a group of Dems at 7 in the morning. Even though there were so many people in the march, being able to experience that together was incredible."

T.J. Clark

"I went to the Women's March today. My favorite thing about the day was a particular chant, 'We will not go away, welcome to your first day.' What that told me is that right here at the start Democrats and progressives are ready to defend the progress that we've made over the last 8 years from attacks from the Trump administration and the Republican Congress. We were there on the first day and we will be there on the last day."

Jazmin Kay

"This weekend showed the strength of not only College Democrats, but the resilience of our nation. We are the majority, and we will keep fighting for what is right no matter what. Day one of the Trump administration we started preparing to take action at We Are Progress. Day two we joined thousands of people across the world to protect women's rights. We will not stop and this weekend demonstrated that."

Emily Recko

"In the midst of all the negativity of this weekend, the Dems Inaugural Ball provided a wonderful opportunity to come together and celebrate all the positive changes brought about by Obama’s presidency. I am thankful to Dems for providing this opportunity the come together and celebrate and also to raise money for Planned Parenthood."

Francesco DeSantis

"I actually thought Trump's inaugural speech was good - unifying and positive, despite the plagiarism from Batman's Bane. I was, however, disgusted at the response to Sen. Schumer's speech. The crowd jeered when he read from the letter of a Civil War officer. They cried "BORING," about someone who literally put their life on the line for this country. I think Trump has encouraged this behavior, by saying things like John McCain was not a war hero because he was captured. That is disrespectful in a campaign, but totally unacceptable as President."

T.J. Worthington

"The most striking thing to me this weekend was the anger and ill will that Trump's supporters still hold for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party in general. The aggression that Trump was able to galvanize among his supporters had not dissipated despite their victory. During the inauguration, Trump's supporters booed Chuck Schumer off the stage without even listening to what he had to say, and yelled "lock her up" as Hillary Clinton entered. This inability to listen to differing viewpoints and the potent hate toward political opponents among Trump's rank and file made me increasingly concerned for the next four years."