Women’s rights supporters across the country – and all over the world -- are ready to march.
Based on registration numbers so far, hundreds of thousands of women and other women's rights supporters will turn up for the Women’s March on Washington in Washington D.C., and tens of thousands will participate in solidarity marches in Portland and Seattle.
Marches will take place Jan. 21, the day after President-elect Donald Trump is scheduled to be inaugurated.
“This isn’t a protest against Trump, although everyone sort of says that with an understanding that everyone is upset about the election,” said Constance Van Flandern, one of the state administrators coordinating organizing efforts in Oregon. She said she is aware of at least 800 people in Oregon who are planning to travel to Washington, D.C. for the march.
“It’s a lot. Airlines booked up fast. We’ve been doing everything that we can to find spaces in churches and public buildings,” Van Flandern told The Skanner.
Van Flandern has also been in contact with organizers in Portland and Eugene who will host solidarity marches in those cities, but also with women in smaller, more conservative Oregon towns who want to demonstrate in support of women’s rights.
Once the national march – which was initially called the Million Woman March, and then changed after concerns the name appropriated the name of an earlier Civil Rights demonstration – was announced, concerned citizens in other states began working to put together solidarity demonstrations. Each state has a team of volunteer administrators coordinating local efforts and distributing information about travel to the nation’s capital.
Portland’s march, which will take place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on the afternoon of Jan.21, was organized by Dara Glass, who told The Skanner she resides in eastern Oregon. She and her friends are “dots of blue in a sea of red,” she said.
“The important thing is to make a showing worldwide because that’s what it’s turning out to be,” Glass told The Skanner. “We have 125 marches going on worldwide. It’s important to bring attention back to women’s rights and empower women and let people know that we’re still here and we’re not going to stand down and that women’s rights are human rights. We need to bring it back to the forefront because it got lost somewhere along the way.”
Organizers in Seattle are fundraising for the event, to obtain permits (though permits aren’t required for free speech demonstrations) as well as portable toilets and audio-visual materials to make sure speeches and presentations are visible.
Funds for the Seattle demonstration go to a social justice nonprofit called Media Island, which has acted as its fiscal sponsor.
“The response we’ve gotten from people has been incredibly varied but the one thing has been this strong, almost guttural desire to do something to help,” said Joy Gerhard, a spokesperson for the Seattle march. “For about a week after the election, I just sat around thinking, What do I do now? I needed to channel that desire into something, taking action.”
For more information about the national march, click here.
For more information about the Oregon group traveling to D.C., click here.
For more information about the Portland demonstration, click here.
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