Planned as a protest in Washington, D.C. to the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States the day before, the January 21st Women’s March on Washington surpassed all expectations of size and scope. Millions of people showed up in D.C. and in cities all over the country—and beyond that to all seven continents—to march, chant, and listen to speakers, united in focus on resisting Donald Trump’s agenda.
Many of the women wore the famed pink knit “pussy hats,” although headgear was entirely optional, and most carried signs with pro-woman and equality, anti-Trump and fascism messages. I talked to several women about why they marched, what steps they plan to take next, and if they consider this day the birth of a movement.
Sandie Angulo Chen, writer
I marched in Atlanta while attending the American Library Association’s annual midwinter conference. I marched because as Rep. John Lewis reminded us, we can’t afford for our nation to take even one step backwards when it comes to human rights, civil rights, women’s rights.
Since then, I’ve joined local groups like Progressive Maryland and the Daily Action text newsletter for ways I can personally and practically keep my local elected officials accountable. I also started using Headspace to practice mindfulness every day, because I found myself despairing every time I read the news. My family also plans to focus on organizations that help refugees and immigrants, because my parents were immigrants, and my husband’s were refugees.
The march felt like sisterhood but also an awakening that one day can’t be the end, it has to be the beginning of personal, continual resistance.
Lauren Williams, Journalist
I marched because I wanted to be a part of a celebration of womanhood. Even if the election had turned out differently, and even if it was held in a non-election year, I still would’ve marched because it’s important to be part of things that are bigger than yourself. It’s important to show up for humanity.
I’m a journalist so my efforts are focused on my work and bringing information to the public. I don’t have any plans to do any formal actions. But I do plan to live my life with purpose and in support of women, namely black women and other women of color. I plan to buy from and support the businesses we own, to highlight the disparities we face through my profession, and to point out all injustices. I truly believe that oppression is related; history has proven that and it’s our job to do what we can in our lifetime to kick it back as far as we can.
Saturday was a really good day. It was a very positive experience. The energy was good and everyone was aware and kind. It definitely made me feel like we’ll be alright eventually, and that there are a lot of people who are willing to do more than just opine and whine. And that’s good, because opinions alone don’t change the course of history.
Asha Dornfest, Author and podcaster, Edit Your Life Show
I marched with my husband and kids for two reasons: to bring closure to the bitter campaign season, and to act as a kickoff to a new era of awareness and action.
I’m working hard to organize women in my city who want to counter the current administrations’s agenda of divisiveness and fear. We share articles, action items, and we support each other during this challenging time.
It felt like a collective of loving, caring people demonstrating their values, and showing up for others’ rights.
Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer Co-Founder, elisacp.live
San Jose, California
I marched because as an opinionated, strong, first generation American woman descended from Holocaust survivors on one side and native-Spanish-speaking family on the other, with a multi-racial family and cadre of friends that also includes members of the LGBTQ community THIS ALL FEELS PERSONAL TO ME. Every slight against every person felt personal.
Every day I am incredibly vocal on social media, with a focus on a) helping my community be aware and b) giving them concrete actions to undertake. Every day I am making economic choices based on my values. What I buy and do not buy is driven by those values. I also donate a set percentage of my pay every year to support a variety of causes about which I care, and I have added organizations like the ACLU and SLPC to that list. Longer term, I am collaborating with two other diverse women to write a guidebook for people to become reacquainted with our democracy and how they can get involved, not every four years, but every day, especially at the local level.
It feels like a movement. In my opinion, Republican lawmakers underestimated Americans. They did not realize that the country will not stand for how far they are willing to go to put power over patriotism. Have you seen anything like this in your lifetime? No. Because this is more mainstream than the anti-Vietnam War protests, and a broader coalition across generations is coming out to protest. And it became MASSIVE. IMMEDIATELY. ONE. WEEK. IN.
They have gone too far, and they will pay. And this is happening not just in urban centers and “liberal enclaves” as the right likes to dismiss it. It’s happening all over the country.
Christine Koh, Internet Unicorn
I chose to march in Boston so I could march with my husband and two daughters (Laurel is 12, Violet is 5). Generally speaking, I marched for equality (with a particular passion for smashing the patriarchy) and practically speaking, I wanted to show support in my hometown and have a tangible way to talk to my kids about the need to stand up and speak up — both for themselves and for those who need their support.
Right this second, I am all about small, tangible actions — both taking them and also moving other people to do the same (I just published a post on 6 ways to move from overwhelmed rage to productive action). I see the biggest resistance around the critical task of making phone calls. People (present company included!) hate making phone calls but it really isn’t that bad once you get over the mental block. So I have been working on presenting people with easy ways to do it, and cheering the hell out of them when they do. Also, MONEY TALKS. So I’ve been both donating personally and also designing shirts that benefit different organizations.
It didn’t exactly feel like a sisterhood (there were lots of men at the Boston march), and I hope it was the beginning of a movement. I’ll be candid and say that one of my biggest points of pause around the march was that it was a “fashionable” thing to do. My repeated request has been for people to follow that march with ACTION. I hope people are doing that. But if I had to characterize the march in one word, I’d say it felt like solidarity.
Nicole Cutts, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist, Success Coach and Author, Vision Quest Retreats
I marched in the Women’s March on Jan. 20th in Washington, DC to stand up for what I believe and value equal rights for all, inclusion, freedom and true Democracy-and so that Trump and his supporters and the world would see that WE (the majority of Americans) do NOT support him or his hateful agenda.
I’m already mobilizing; making calls, signing petitions, writing letters, supporting organizations that uplift and organizing others to do the same.
I was uplifted by the march; the sense of sisterhood and positive mobilizing energy. I felt joy and hope, things I had not felt since the election, but most importantly I was energized to act! The Women’s March on Washington represents just one event in a movement that has been ignited in this country. We are fighting to take the United States of America forward, not back. Still WE rise!
I marched to re-connect with the America that I know, and to show support for immigrants, muslims and minorities who have the most to fear from this administration. I marched again on Tuesday in Philadelphia. I envision the next two to three years as a non-stop series of marches, letters, phone calls, strikes, meetings and actions until we make things right again.
Knowing that 42% of all women voted for Trump, seeing people like Kelly Anne Conway on TV, and reading the comments of my conservative friends on Facebook makes me feel that a true sisterhood is impossible. At this moment I want nothing to do with those women and feel that they’re traitors to their sex.
Mia Jones, Podcaster
I marched for my nieces, for my grandma, for all the women who came before me and all the women who will come after me.
This is the first time in my life that I’ve prayed daily (or really any time other than before flying), but I am praying for Peace, Love, Compassion, Kindness and Empathy for humanity. I’ve been avoiding the news, internet and social media due to the overwhelming amount of bullshit. I’ve spent a good portion of my life being angry. Right now it’s important for me to breathe, and share love. The first thing I have on my list is to knock on the door of the Muslim family who lives by me, and let them know I am an ally, and ask how I can be of service to them. My task for every day is to find ways, big and small, to spread love. It’s easy, free, and makes a big difference.
The march didn’t really feel like a sisterhood to me. It was powerful, but my own experience somehow still included some mansplaining and random acts of (seemingly) well-intentioned ignorance.
I was hesitant to march because I was honestly scared to face the detractors who would likely be present. But I realized that that fear was exactly why I needed to march, why I needed to shout publicly that I/we have rights and those rights are threatened by a morally corrupt administration. I decided to march in the demonstration in Pittsburgh because I felt that it was important to show that this opposition is just as hearty in parts of the country that can’t readily be dismissed as “liberal enclaves.” (Pittsburgh is generally solidly blue in both national and local elections and would probably describe itself as moderate, but still.) There was some controversy in the organization of the Pittsburgh sister march and ultimately an alternative march was organized that focused on intersectionality, with primary foci being issues that disproportionately affect women/people of color, LGBTQIA, and differently abled people in Pittsburgh. This march was not in opposition to the main or sister march but did make some good points about the inadequate response to the local organizers’ kind of icky dismissal of highlighting intersectional issues. I attended this march because I wanted to show my support for local populations who are especially at risk under the Trump administration.
My next action items are to participate in disruption whenever I can until this entire administration (Trump, Pence, Bannon, Conway, Spicer all of them) is gone, and sooner than 2020. Specifically, I have joined a local group that will research and perform civic actions. I also purchased a subscription to the New York Times, as I feel investments in our media are critical, now more than ever. I may also purchase a subscription to my local newspaper. Also, and this is a small thing but it is a big deal to me, I am being more outspoken on my social media outlets. My aim there is to share information and receive education when my understanding falls short. This was a big takeaway from the criticism lobbed at the national and local women’s marches: be okay with people calling me out, especially if it’s for the purposes of strengthening our alliance. My husband and I are both considering running for local office but I’m not sure how solid that goal is.
It absolutely feels like a movement, yes. I am very often scared, angry, and/or sad about what is happening and how we got here, but I am more often energized and inspired by the resistance that this country is showing with support from all over the world. I think we can really change what is happening, and if we don’t, no one can say we didn’t fight.
(Photo collage: Erica Hornung/TueNight)