Star Fae sounded ecstatic when she took the Meyer Amphitheater stage Saturday. “I've been told we had over seven thousand people here today, the biggest rally ever seen in West Palm Beach,” she said into the microphone to a cheering crowd that filled the amphitheater's lawn.
At least seven thousand people upset about incoming President Donald Trump gathered on Saturday afternoon for the Palm Beach County Women's March at the amphitheater in downtown West Palm. The rally was organized by South Florida Activism, a political group Fae founded. Fae, an activist from Lake Worth, told her audience the event's headcount came from a city parks department official.
From noon until after 2 p.m., thousands of protesters – mostly women – waved signs that read “A woman's place is in the House and Senate” and “Keep your hands and your laws away from my --” with an arrow pointing to a cat. The second one references video leaked in October where Trump bragged about sexual assault, claiming women let famous men “grab them by the pussy.”
The crowd listened to local activists, politicians and citizens who took the stage to speak to the anti-Trump, pro-women's rights, liberal crowd. Their messages covered subjects like global warming, abortion rights, bigotry and the rights of the disabled.
One speaker urged the crowd to get politically involved if they want change. “Go to your local city commission, ask them what they're doing, what they stand for,” said Lake Worth City Commissioner Chris McVoy. He urged those at the rally to not only protest, but vote in local elections and run for local office. (Lake Worth's next city commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m.)
Sam Zimmerman was one attendee looking to get involved. The 19-year-old high school student waved a rainbow flag emblazoned with the word “Equality.”
Zimmerman said he has been waving that flag up and down Jensen Boulevard in Martin County, where he lives. “I got people cursing me, flicking me off, saying 'Fuck you, fag!' but some people honk” in support, he said.
Martin County voters chose Trump over Hillary Clinton by a margin of 61-35 percent, state election data shows. Zimmerman said he voted for Clinton.
After 2 p.m., pumped-up rally-goers dispersed through downtown West Palm. One group marched to Trump Plaza at 525 South Flagler Drive, which bears Trump's name, but is not owned by him. Another marched through Clematis Street chanting “Tell us what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!”
The Palm Beach County Women's march was planned in solidarity with the Women's March On Washington and more than 400 others across America. An estimated 10,000 marched on Bayfront Park Amphitheater in Miami, the Miami Herald reported. The Washington D.C. women's march attracted more than 500,000 protesters, the Los Angeles Times reported. The size of Trump's inauguration was revealed to be much smaller than that when BuzzFeed News's David Mack compared aerial photos of both events.
After the West Palm rally backstage, Fae mentioned plans for another similar event. “I hope for the next rally in February to focus on either gun control or veterans' health,” she said.