This weekend over 600 cities around the world took to the streets to protest against the aggressively nationalist and populist politics that has found its voice so explicitly in Donald Trump and his blatantly deluded supporters.
Organised to coincide with his first day as US president, the Women’s March has got to be one of the most spontaneous and spirited demonstrations of recent history. Instigated from Washington DC, this modest idea evolved rapidly and so organically to be much more than a voice for women’s rights. It became a march towards defending human rights (after all women’s rights are human rights) – a unified voice standing up for progressive values, fighting for the dignity and equality of all peoples, championing our vibrant and diverse communities, and speaking out for the safety and health of our planet.
Saturday morning, as we designed and printed our banners, adding our own unique touch and copy of course (the creative input at the demo is to applauded!), over two million people worldwide had already registered to attend. Yet our journey to central London quickly proved that this is going to be a very much bigger event than expected. We met women, men, teens (many) and kids carrying hand-made banners across the capital. Our friends joining us from Oxford and Surrey couldn’t board trains for the shear number of demonstrators making their way in.
Women’s March London alone was an incredible day. I am somewhat of a protest veteran, yet this was a very special event. Here likeminded liberals and intellectuals (a vilified terms these days), internationalists (even more so), and the young marched together without any political dogmas, no specific agenda but to defend the basics of human rights.
As a writer focused on design, what is the future for creativity, how can the arts and progressive sciences and technology flourish in a world based on greed, discrimination and hate – political powers that are terrified of education and oppose intellectual thought?
However, on that bright, frosty Saturday, as 600-plus cities rose around the world in alliance, with one unified cause, one voice, I was reminded of the basic human spirit …. and I am convinced these young, spirited voices will change darkness into light.
All photography © Leigh Banks