On January 21st, 2017, over 2.5 million people worldwide marched for human rights during the Women's March. The largest inaugural protest in history served as a message of resistance to an administration that many see as threatening to their fundamental rights. Across the country, people stood up to speak for the causes close to their hearts, including many celebrities, icons, and dignitaries who shared sentiments about the day's event.
While stars and activists came together for the cause, some speeches were more surprising than others. While some revealed their personal connection to the march, others surprised viewers with their candor and unapologetic call for justice. Here are just some speeches that shook up the march.
"It took this horrific moment of darkness to wake us the fuck up. It seems as though we had all slipped into a false sense of comfort, that justice would prevail and that good would win in the end. Well, good did not win this election. But good will win in the end."
After both networks cut away, Madonna continued.
"Yes, I'm angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won't change anything. We cannot fall into despair. As the poet, W.H. Auden once wrote on the eve of World War II: We must love one another or die. I choose love. Are you with me? Say this with me: We choose love. We choose love. We choose love."
"The freedom and struggles of black people that have shaped the very nature of this country's history cannot be deleted with the sweep of a hand. We cannot be made to forget that black lives do matter. This is a country anchored in slavery and colonialism, which means for better or for worse the very history of the United States is a history of immigration and enslavement. Spreading xenophobia, hurling accusations of murder and rape and building walls will not erase history."
Senator Elizabeth Warren
"Yesterday, Donald Trump was sworn in as president. That sight is now burned into my eyes forever. And I hope the same is true for you, because we will not forget. We do not want to forget. We will use that vision to make sure that we fight harder, we fight tougher, and we fight more passionately than ever — not just for the people whom Donald Trump supports, but for all of America."
"We can whimper. We can whine. Or we can fight back! We come here to stand shoulder to shoulder to make clear: We are here! We will not be silent! We will not play dead! We will fight for what we believe in!"
"We are in this situation because someone thought a character from television could fix our shit. This is not about Olivia Pope. This is not about anybody saving you, people! This is about you and me, standing up for our democracy and saying 'I matter.'"
"When you go back home tonight... and you feel like 'Wow, there is an agenda at work to make me feel like I don't matter, because I'm a woman my voice doesn't matter, because I'm a person of color my voice doesn't matter, because I'm an immigrant, because I'm a member of the LGBTQ community, because I'm an old person, because I'm a young person... because I have a fucking voice, I don't matter.' You matter."
"[Women] must seek leadership positions, and support other women who do the same. Until we make it normal to have at least half, if not more, of our leaders be female, we will be serving, and with our taxes financing, a government that believes it's within their domain to make decisions for our future."
"My generation, which I am so honored to be representing right now, knows exactly what is going on, despite what many adults tell us. We know what's happening because it's happening to us too. We are so engaged in this conversation around intersectionality and what freedom actually means that we are willing to risk our lives for it."
"In order to make these changes, we must be aware and constantly acknowledge our privileges. This means understanding and acknowledging that the majority of the white woman vote went to Trump. We must work harder to make people aware that racial bias and gender bias cannot be separated, they work together."
"I am not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag, and I didn't know devils could be resurrected but I feel Hitler in these streets. A mustache traded for a toupee. Nazis renamed the Cabinet Electoral Conversion Therapy, the new gas chambers shaming the gay out of America, turning rainbows into suicide. I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege... your daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes."
"The president is not America. His cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America. And we are here to stay. We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance."
"We march today for our families and our neighbors, for our future, for the causes we claim and for the causes that claim us. We march today for the moral core of this nation, against which our new president is waging a war. He would like us to forget the words, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,’ and instead, take up a credo of hatred."
"President Trump, I did not vote for you. That said, I respect that you are you our President-elect and I want to be able to support you. But first I ask that you support me, support my sister, support my mother, support my best friends and all of all girlfriends. Support the men and women here today that are anxiously awaiting to see how your next moves may drastically affect their lives. Support my daughter who may actually, as a result of the appointments you have made, grow up in a county that is moving backwards, not forward, and who may potentially not have the right to make choices for her body and her future that your daughter Ivanka has been privileged to have."
"Continue to embrace the things that make you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable. You are enough. Whenever you feel in doubt, whenever you want to give up, you must always remember to choose freedom over fear."
"We are linked. We are not ranked. And this is a day that will change us forever because we are together. Each of us individually and collectively will never be the same again. When we elect a possible president we too often go home. We've elected an impossible president, we're never going home. We're staying together. And we're taking over."