Women and men across the country plan to participate in a “Women’s March on Washington” in the nation’s capital the day after the inauguration as a rebuke to President-elect Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks about women and minorities during his presidential campaign.
The Jan. 21 protest takes its name from the 1963 March on Washington, a historic civil rights rally on the Mall where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. The rally will also pay tribute to the 1997 Million Woman March in Philadelphia, in which hundreds of thousands of African American women are reported to have participated.
Bob Bland, a New York-based organizer of the march, said she and other women across the country started planning protests after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election. The protests had various names on social media, including “Million Women’s March,” “Nasty Women March” and at least one made explicit reference to Trump’s recorded remark about grabbing women “by the p—y.”
The women realized their marches were working against one another and decided to merge them into one national event on the Mall. Each state now has its own leaders organizing trips to Washington.
“We welcome our male allies,” Bland said. “We want this to be as inclusive as possible while acknowledging that it’s okay to have a women-centered march.”
Bland said that the march is in its early planning stages and that organizers are still recruiting a diverse leadership committee that represents females from all populations. The march will feature a yet-to-be-decided slate of speakers.
While Trump’s remarks served as an impetus for the protest, Bland said it won’t be an anti-Trump rally. Instead, she said, the march will be forward-looking and will serve to amplify the voices of women and minorities and to let the country know that those voices are united and strong.
“I look forward to the positive tone of this march,” Bland said. “Obviously we are in a period of time right now where there is a lot of anti-Trump sentiment, but this is positive. For us this, this is a much bigger picture than just this election cycle. The people that have been targeted, we need to converge together, to show that we are strong and we have a voice — and we are going to move forward in the future and make sure these voices are heard.”
It is unclear how many people will attend the march. The national Facebook group already has more than 70,000 people RSVP’d to attend, with each separate state Facebook page for the march having a few thousand additional RSVPs.
Bland said the organizers are working on obtaining permits for the march, though a National Park Service spokesperson said the agency has not received a request yet.