hear us roar
(Amy Nickerson)

Feminism is a word often rejected by progressive women because of the negative connotation it carries. Feminists are often judged as anything but feminine, described even by other women as radical man-haters who wave their pro-choice signs in your face and complain about the wage gap.

In actuality, feminism simply implies the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities. At its core, it is hopeful, empowering and anything but hateful. That spirit was evident Saturday across the nation — and the world — as women came out in droves to unite peacefully and declare that women’s rights are human rights. It was a women’s march movement that began in Washington, D.C., but quickly become a global event.

In Oklahoma City, organizers announced that 12,000 people were in attendance at the Oklahoma Capitol (though others reported 5,000 as a more accurate figure). Either way, it was a fantastic sight.

The photos below, taken by Amy Nickerson, show some of the signs and faces at Saturday’s rally.

Young and old marched together. We were of different ethnicities and religions, and we were singing and finding encouragement among a plethora of clever signs. Beginning with an assortment of prayers from Christian, Native American and Muslim religious leaders, the crowd joined together to sing Audra Day’s Rise Up before marching and chanting, “Hear us roar.” (Thanks, Katy Perry.)

I was there, and I found myself proud, encouraged, energized and heard — honored to wear the badge of a feminist alongside so many women of worth.

As our nation faces much uncertainty and unease, I was glad to see that fear has not suppressed us. Rather, it has ignited many who were otherwise silent. Moving forward, please keep talking, singing, questioning and defending.

It will take more than a day, but Saturday was a great start.