On Jan. 21, 2017, women from across the country are descending upon Washington, D.C., to march down to the U.S. Capitol in protest of the incoming administration. What started as a small Facebook post from a grandmother in Hawaii has expanded into a massive, grassroots-driven protest and rally with big-name speakers including Gloria Steinem, Janet Mock, and Van Jones. We asked women to share with us why they are marching, and they delivered. Here are some of their incredible stories and messages.
Video by Sara Sayed, Alex Brook Lynn and Daniel Sircar
“I’m indescribably frightened by the direction of this country post-election, especially as an Jewish Ecuadorian-American and as a queer person. However, I don’t want my younger cousins to look up to me and see paralyzing fear, I want them to see action and standing up for what’s right.” —Jenny, 23, FL
“I come from a family of Mexican immigrants. My grandma dropped out of school in eighth grade to help support the family (she is the oldest of 9), and at 17 had her first child. Too many strong women in my family who didn’t have the opportunity for education fought so hard so that I could go to school and complete my Ph.D. for me to sit aside and watch the rights they fought for be in jeopardy with a new Congress and administration.” —Emily, 26, GA
“I’m marching as a woman, a Muslim, and a human-rights lawyer. As a woman, I’m participating in the march to send an unequivocal message to the administration that I refuse for my younger friends, cousins, and eventually daughters and granddaughters to be raised in an America where it is acceptable for men to partake in sexual assault and become the most powerful individuals in the country. As a Muslim, I’m participating in the march to proudly identify with my community, stand against purported measures of discrimination promised by this administration, whether through a Muslim registry or through the historically-racist comments of likely-Cabinet officials. As a human-rights lawyer, I’m participating in the march to uphold and honor the right to freedom of assembly and expression, to ensure that everyone around me feels safe to exercise these rights, and to guarantee that America does not backslide into authoritarianism like many of the countries I spend my days working to challenge.” —Mai, 27, born in Egypt, raised in the U.S.
“As a 16-year-old who is unable to vote, I have decided to stand up and make my voice heard through peaceful public protest… As a young woman with a great deal of educational, racial, and economic privilege, I am protesting not just for myself, but to show my support for those less privileged than I am, who need to work and cannot protest, or who would not feel safe doing so… Until recently, I felt that I must wait to ‘grow up’ so as to make a change in my country. With the election of Trump, I am persuaded that there is no better time than now to stand up for what I believe to be right. This march is just the sort of opportunity I plan to seize so as to fight for the country that I would like to live in as an adult.” —Edie, 16, NY
“I am the parent of a transgender son and know the horrors of repealing the ACA.” —Jill, 54
“I’m disabled. I have spinal injuries that keep me close to home… My sister, who also has spinal injuries, and I will be marching locally. We march for equal access to healthcare. For the right to make our own medical decisions without political interference. I am marching so that I can still HAVE medical care when I need it… I’m marching for Black Lives, LGBTQ+, and Native lives. I am marching because our democracy no longer represents the people of this country. Our voices no longer matter in the process. And THAT. MUST. CHANGE.” —Melinda, 33, TN
“As a liberal, a woman, and a queer person, I’m terrified and angry about how this presidency will affect me and everyone I love. The world—and history—need to know that we didn’t sit idly by and let this happen. This protest is a statement that the majority of Americans do not stand with this man, and a way to show other people who might be feeling the same way I do that we are not alone. We might not be able to stop this shameful day from happening, but we can at least make our voices heard.” —Jenna, 32, NY
“I am marching in solidarity with all those who are marginalized, mistreated, and are fearful of the Trump administration and the harm it will bring. I march because, as a woman, I am one of those who is in fear. I march because there is nothing quite like being in a space with hundreds of thousands of other people who believe in the same things as you.” —Maeghan, 31, FL
“My mother, a lifelong liberal, told me this is the first time she’s ever felt truly hopeless. Thanks, Trump. My mom is the nicest person you’ll ever meet, and he’s taken away some of her positivity… I’m angry and sad, and I need this march. WE need it.” —Kelsey, 30, NY
“I will be marching… to vent my anger and sorrow at losing my 25-year-old middle son to suicide by gun in April 2012… I march to raise awareness that suicide is preventable, and that all states should have gun violence restraining orders.” —Dorothy, 60, MD
“My sister-in-law has a similar disability to the reporter, Mr. Foley, that Trump mocked on national TV for having a disability. My husband and I were appalled. She, Heather, can’t speak for herself, so my husband and I are both going to be vocal for her.” —Cathy, 57
“I am marching because my dad and other family members fought for my right to do so and I see this presidency, this time in history, as my generation’s civil-rights movement.” —Chelsea, 33, MD
“I have an 18-year-old daughter who voted in her first election last year and is appalled, as am I, by the outcome… Almost every woman I know has been subjected to at least one intimate relationship with a man like Trump. It is devastating to realize my daughter may have to contend with a country and political class that treats her, and all other minorities, as a controlling, abusive partner would.” —Cynthia, 50, MD
“For the first time in my life I believe I have to take a literal and public stand for the things I believe in and my deeply held value of compassion. While previous administrations may not have also supported those values… I’ve never felt my actual way of life threatened before. I will not sit idly by.” —Alise, 41, VA
“I can’t go to [the] March but I contributed $.” —Judy, “90 years young,” FL
“This march seems like a powerful way to give voice to all the concerns I have about how a Trump presidency will affect women’s rights. Also, I’m going with my grandmother, which is pretty cool.” —Madison, 19, CA
“I can’t stand by and watch the clock get turned back on women’s rights and civil rights. I have never done anything like this before and feel compelled to stand up for all of our rights.” —Judy, 66, CA
“I march for my 13-year-old daughters… The next generation coming up is tolerant and open-minded, and will remember what happened before they were old enough to vote when they finally are able to vote. I want Congress, and Trump, to see that.” —Jean, NJ
“Women of this country have a voice. We are strong and we matter. We outnumber men and won’t be shamed or humiliated into silence. I do not want to tell my future children that I did not stand up against discrimination and demagoguery at this crucial moment.” —Kate, 25, NY
“I’m marching because I have to. I thought my mom took care of this shit in the ’70s, but I was wrong.” —Stacy, 32, WY
“I am looking so very forward to connecting with a larger community of people who have the same ideals and values as I do. Because while I do believe that one person can make a difference, I know that together we are stronger.” —Cristyn, 30, MI
“I am marching against bigotry, racism, sexism, and intolerance. I’m walking for Planned Parenthood! I want to show the Trump camp that we are a diverse, beautiful nation who won’t sit on the sidelines!” —Susan, 28, KY
“One, as a show of force to the incoming President that he will be held accountable. Two, to learn from other people marching.” —Lindsey, 33, Washington, D.C.
“I’m marching to be a part of something that is bigger than me alone and I’m hoping even my little piece will help make a larger impact. And selfishly, I’m marching because I need to see something that will help restore some of my faith.” —Kelly, 36, MO
“Data is easy to ignore or twist… It is harder to ignore the people behind the data when they stand up and demand to be heard. It is important to show up in person—not just petitions and phone calls—but SHOW UP and demand to be heard.” —Heather, 53, NJ
“As a mother with a daughter, I cannot stand idly by as women’s rights are being challenged. I was appalled that so many people voted for a man who boasted about sexual assault. To me, this is an indication that if we do not stand up together sexual assault will, again, be acceptable ‘locker room banter.’” —Tiffany, 36, VA
“For my daughters and any daughters they might have.” —Angela, 60, AR
Video reporting by Sara Sayed, Alex Brook Lynn, and Daniel Sircar.