In what started as one woman’s Facebook post threatening to protest President-elect Donald Trump’s January 20 inauguration in Washington, D.C., the Women’s March on Washington (scheduled for January 21) has grown to include over 100,000 registered attendees—and more are expected to turn up.
“I guess in my heart of hearts I wanted it to happen, but I didn’t really think it would’ve ever gone viral,” Teresa Shook, the retired attorney and Hawaii resident who initially brought up the idea of a women’s march, told the Washington Post. “I don’t even know how to go viral.”
Apparently, Shook knows more than she thinks because the post gained national interest overnight. Seeing the response, she began reaching out to strangers who had offered to help her organize, though the initial group has since been restructured to be more inclusive and diverse.
Despite earlier stumbles in organizing and event planning, the march, according to the Washington Post, is “expected to be the largest demonstration linked to Donald Trump’s inauguration and a focal point for activists on the left who have been energized in opposing his agenda.”
More than 150,000 women and men have responded on the march’s Facebook page that they plan on attending. At least 1,000 buses are headed to Washington for the march through Rally, a website that organizes buses to protests. Dozens of groups, including Planned Parenthood and the antiwar CodePink, have signed on as partners.
“Donald Trump’s election has triggered a lot of women to be more involved than they ordinarily would have been, which is ironic, because a lot of us thought a Hillary presidency would motivate women,” says executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics, Dana Brown. “A lot of women seem to be saying, ‘This is my time. I’m not going to be silent anymore.’ ”
Tamika Mallory, one of the march’s main organizers, tells the Post, “We plan to make a bold and clear statement to this country on the national and local level that we will not be silent and we will not let anyone roll back the rights we have fought and struggled to get.”
In response to the march, Trump Inaugural Committee spokesman Boris Epshteyn told CNN, “We’re here to hear their concerns. We welcome them to our side as well.”
(People don’t protest because they want to join your side, pal!)
As for the march day itself:
Organizers say plans are on track, after securing a permit from D.C. police to gather 200,000 people near the Capitol at Independence Avenue and Third Street SW on the morning after Inauguration Day. Exactly how big the march will be has yet to be determined, with organizers scrambling to pull together the rest of the necessary permits and raise the $1 million to $2 million necessary to pull off a march triggered by Shook’s Facebook venting.
Prepared or not, hundreds of thousands of women and their allies are headed to D.C. to protest Donald Trump’s agenda on inauguration weekend.