On the morning after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, more than 200,000 demonstrators are expected to descend on Washington, D.C., to champion the causes and communities they say Trump has dismissed.
The Women’s March on Washington, conceived on Facebook the day after Trump’s election, will coincide Saturday with more than 350 “sister marches” in Manhattan and across the country.
“If there was ever a time to stand together, to stand proud and loud, it’s under a president who won an election on a message of hate and division,” Linda Sarsour, a national chair of the march, wrote last week in a Women’s Media Center essay.
Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, added that the message she personally wants to send to the Trump administration is: “Hands off our Muslim sisters and brothers.”
Other issues that participants say will be spotlighted include reproductive rights, climate change, criminal justice reforms and the struggles of immigrant, black, Latino and LGBT Americans.
Celebrities such as feminist icon Gloria Steinem, comedian Amy Schumer and actor America Ferrera have said they will join the march from the U.S. Capitol to the White House.
Elected officials, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), also will be there. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens) said she will boycott Trump’s swearing-in ceremony, but will attend the march to “show solidarity with many Americans concerned with the incoming administration.”
The march’s New York City chapter found bus transportation for “several thousand people” heading to Washington, local organizer Molly Sandley said. The influx of attendees from the city also has meant hundreds of buses chartered, two more Amtrak trains scheduled and a ride-sharing website set up, she said.
From Long Island, groups planning to march in either Washington or Manhattan include the National Organization for Women’s Nassau County chapter and the social action group ATLI.
Julia Fenster, of Huntington, a co-president of NOW-Nassau and chief organizer of ATLI, said their platform is liberal but they always seek dialogue with neighbors of other political views.
She said Trump’s election “created a lot of momentum for people to get involved in ways they haven’t before. They may not know what to do, but they know they have to do something.”
The march’s preparations have not been without controversy.
The name was changed from the Million Women March because the original moniker borrowed from and threatened to upstage a 1997 demonstration by black women in Philadelphia.
Also, the founding organizers said they realized they did not represent America’s diversity and recruited a trio of New York City-based, minority activists to their national leadership.
“The reality is that the women who initially started organizing were almost all white,” march organizers acknowledged in a November statement, stressing that Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez — prominent in New York City for rallying and marching for criminal justice reforms — are not “tokens.”
Then, earlier this week, an anti-abortion feminist group was dropped as an official march partner. March representatives said they made an “error” in including the organization and have been supporters of abortion rights “from day one.”
Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, founder of the Dallas-based New Wave Feminists, told Fox News there was “irony” in the march rejecting her group as it preached inclusivity.
The Women’s March also has been criticized for lacking clarity of purpose because of the multitude of causes under its umbrella.
“Yes, it’s a diverse coalition of groups marching, but we’re all absolutely united around one idea: There is work to be done to protect women’s rights in this country,” Sandley countered. “After we march together on the 21st, we’ll work together on Jan. 22 and beyond.”