They were separated by thousands of miles, but a Biloxi woman and her stepdaughter marched with millions of others around the nation for equality and to peacefully protest President Donald Trump.
When Angela Guice-Tyrsen got out of an Uber in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, she was ready to rally with the 70,000 other people on Facebook who said they were attending the Women’s March.
But she and her friends were shocked to see there were hundreds of thousands people already in the streets, chanting, chatting and holding signs.
“In LA, just to get somebody to come across town to have dinner with you on your birthday is really a challenge,” Guice-Tyrsen said.
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Guice-Tyrsen, who has owned the TV production agency NuContext Creative for 11 years and is her father Reed Guice’s business partner at Guice & Guice Public Relations in Biloxi, was ready to protest. She said she was happy to see people of every color and sex, young and old, and entire families at the event to march for equality after the inauguration of Trump.
Dancing to Missy Elliot with Jane Fonda
“Everybody was there for the same purpose, to show that we’re united and we’re not going to take this sitting,” she said.
Guice-Tyrsen and her friends tried to march down to City Hall, but the crowds were so large that many people were standing in place. She saw a woman power walking in the opposite direction and decided to follow her. It turned out to be actress Jane Fonda.
“We all got behind Jane,” Guice-Tyrsen said. “We were marching with Jane and dancing to Missy Elliot in the streets. It was so cool. I couldn’t have imagined a more peaceful group of people.”
Across the country, photographer Susan Guice took her husband, Reed, and 10-year-old son, Breton, to march in the nation’s capital.
“It was the friendliest, nicest group of like a million people you could ever imagine,” she said. “It was the feeling of we’re all in this together. The feeling was just electric.”
On Friday, Guice-Tyrsen said her little brother called her in tears after Trump officially took the oath of office.
“He said, ‘Ang, I’m really scared,’” Guice-Tyrsen said. But when she talked with him on Saturday, his feelings had completely changed.
“He was feeling really good yesterday,” she said, “but I think that’s an example, too, that we can’t have our kids think that it’s the end of the world. That’s what the march did. It flipped the script.”
A ‘vivid’ example of democracy
The streets of Washington were filled with regular people from middle and rural America, Susan Guice said. She said a large portion of the crowd was younger than 30, but another large portion were older than 50, nearing retirement age. They weren’t radicals, she said. In fact, many people were protesting for the first time.
“It was energetic, exciting, and it was the most vivid example of democracy I had ever seen.”
Susan Guice said it was important for her to go to the march because she, like many others who stood beside her, wanted Trump to know that the world was watching him.
“I was raised to have what I consider Christian values, to care about other people, and to try to give a hand up to somebody who’s hurting,” she said. “Trump seems to represent that exact opposite of everything I was raised to believe. I hope he’ll be good for this country, but he scares me.”
“I have a lot of friends and a lot of family who believe in him and think he’s going to do good ... it gives me a little hope.”
Angela Guice-Tyrsen said she wasn’t surprised to see that the rally and march in Gulfport was so well attended. She said she feels the Coast is more progressive than the rest of Mississippi, and it’s people in the Deep South and other parts of rural America who have never raised a voice of resistance who will create the most change.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” she said. “There’s an energy in the air and I think it’s something that’s not going to be stopped.
However, she said she’s also shocked at the number of women Trump supporters on Facebook criticizing other women for marching in the event.
“It just boggled my mind that they have the privilege to think they have equal rights when statistically women make less than men, and that’s white women,” she said. “Any minority groups make even less.”
“We’ve come so far in women’s rights and LGBT rights and immigrant rights ... we’ve come too far to let Trumpism change what everybody who has come before us paved the way for.”
‘We got woke’
Guice-Tyrsen said she woke up this morning and felt like the people she cheered and protested with yesterday are going to help make a positive change.
“It makes me so emotional now. People are awake. We got woke ... we’re going to take a stand,” she said.
Breton Guice said he was excited to tell his friends about participating in the Women’s March when he gets back to Biloxi.
“I thought it was great that everyone was protesting for something they believed in,” Breton said, noting that the crowd was so full he worried he would get lost.
But he never left the side of his parents.
Susan Guice said she was inspired by the freedom of speech Americans have and use to raise their voice against injustices.
“Even the police and National Guard were cheering us on,” she said. “It was just an incredible love fest of people.”
“It’s Trump country and it’s everybody else’s country, too. We’re all in this together.”