Voices Of Women's Marchers Across The Country Dozens of Women's Marches took place across the U.S. and the world Saturday on President Trump's first full day in office.
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Voices Of Women's Marchers Across The Country

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Voices Of Women's Marchers Across The Country

Voices Of Women's Marchers Across The Country

Voices Of Women's Marchers Across The Country

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Dozens of Women's Marches took place across the U.S. and the world Saturday on President Trump's first full day in office.


Protesters filled the streets in cities around the country and the world on President Donald Trump's first full day in office. Some demonstrators who traveled to the Women's March on Washington are now heading home, and many participants are wondering what's next. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: Their voices echoed across the U.S., from New York City...


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) We go high when they go low.

WANG: ...To Park City, Utah...


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Love, not hate, makes America great. Love, not hate...

WANG: ...And Sioux Falls, S.D.


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Native lives matter. Native lives matter.

WANG: For some, the Women's Marches were their first steps into activism, including Felipe Ortiz who attended a rally in Wichita, Kan.

FELIPE ORTIZ: I'm 82 years old, and I'm going for my first long walk for all the women. I won't be here forever, but I'm helping.

WANG: In New York, city officials estimate that more than 400,000 protesters came out for Saturday's march. Amy Mitchell was in the crowd and said she and others were standing up against President Donald Trump.

AMY MITCHELL: I think he's bringing people together in a way that he may not have expected. And if we can all come together, maybe it will only be one term - hopefully.

WANG: Anti-Trump messages also dominated the Women's March in Washington, D.C., which drew some of the biggest names of the feminist movement, including Gloria Steinem.


GLORIA STEINEM: We are here and around the world for a deep democracy that says we will not be quiet, we will not be controlled, we will work for a world in which all countries are connected. God may be in the details, but the goddess is in connections.

WANG: In D.C., the crowd appeared to be mostly white. Some critics of the Women's March say the organizers failed to fully connect with women of color, even after diversifying the leadership team and broadening policy demands.


ROSLYN BROCK: The silence in America has been deafening for black women and our families, who also feel forgotten and blocked out of a prosperous society.

WANG: Roslyn Brock is the chair of the National Board of Directors at the NAACP. Her speech to the D.C. crowd touched on the history of women of color often being left behind by the women's suffrage movement.


BROCK: And so I call upon you, my sisters, in the words of my ancestral she-ro (ph) Sojourner Truth - ain't I a woman?


WANG: The marches did bring out many families. Thirty-one-year-old Kristina Apgar of Brooklyn, N.Y., came to Washington with her mother and younger sister.

KRISTINA APGAR: I would be here no matter what by myself. But the fact that my mom and my sister are here - it means so much more that we're all now proudly feminists.

WANG: Apgar's mother, Ruth, said her main concern is Republican lawmakers cutting funding for Planned Parenthood.

RUTH APGAR: That's where we went for the medical advice and, quite frankly, birth control. I mean, I came from a middle-class area, but my parents wouldn't talk about that sort of thing. And women today are still using it. And for them to cut the funding, that's outrageous.

WANG: The marches can be an effective way to start a broader campaign, according to Nandini Deo, who studies social movements at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

NANDINI DEO: It helps all of us, you know, connect with each other, realize there's a lot of us out there. It helps us become more firm in our identity as activists.

WANG: Deo took a bus herself from Philadelphia to D.C. with her husband and two sons, plus some friends and neighbors. But she says what really matters is what protesters decide to do after the marches.

DEO: People's energies can get channeled in lots of different directions. So how do you keep everyone together?

WANG: Deo says she plans to get more involved with congressional elections to support progressive candidates. It's a localized strategy that many marchers say they're ready to take on.

Hansi Lo Wang, NPR News, Washington.

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Women's March Floods Washington, Sparking Rallies Worldwide

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

The National Mall has flooded with pink, as demonstrators descend on the nation's capital Saturday for the Women's March on Washington. Just one day after President Trump's inauguration, marchers from across the country have gathered in the city to protest his agenda and support for women's rights.

The event opened with a rally, to be followed by the march proper — which had a path laid out from a starting position near the U.S. Capitol to its endpoint near the Washington Monument.

The city's metro system reported 275,000 rides as of 11 a.m. According to metro officials that's eight times more than a normal Saturday. Reuters adds that the number is also "82,000 more than the 193,000 rides reported at the same point on Friday," the day of Trump's inauguration.

Chris and Susannah Kisrarday traveled to D.C. from Lewisburg, Pa., with their kids Zoitan, Ceili, Catherine and Ellie. (Right) Rosa Plume traveled from San Francisco. Becky Harlan/NPR hide caption

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Becky Harlan/NPR

In fact, the number of marchers swelled to the point of prompting reports there would be no space for a formal procession — a claim rebutted by organizers Saturday afternoon in a statement.

"We are marching," reads the statement. "We are marching straight ahead toward the Washington Monument to the ellipse of the White House."

The event grew from humble origins — a simple Facebook invitation after Election Day — to the much more massive demonstration seen Saturday. By the time marchers hit the streets, the Women's March on Washington developed a broad platform of progressive political positions, a slate of celebrity performers and a series of sister marches planned across the world — on all seven continents.

Many protesters wore pink or other feminist iconography at the Women's March on Washington. Meg Kelly/NPR hide caption

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Meg Kelly/NPR

For protester Amy Jackson, though, the matter was simple: She just wanted to "make her voice heard," she tells NPR's Marisa Penaloza. Jackson, who traveled to D.C. from Chocowinity, N.C., to be part of the march, said, "It was very important to be here today."

The Scene On The Ground

Among the crowd that gathered for the rally outside the National Museum of the American Indian, NPR's Sarah McCammon reported signs supporting a wide array of causes — from women's rights and LGBTQ rights, to Black Lives Matter and excoriations of xenophobia.

One thing seemed to be almost universal, though: The pink knitted caps known as "pussyhats" among the marchers, in protest of Trump's past comments about women.

(Left to right) Melissa Breen, Laura Jamison, Sandy Cuza and Kathryn Wehrmann chat while sporting matching pink hats in support of the march. Becky Harlan/NPR hide caption

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Becky Harlan/NPR

Popular as they may have been, the pussyhats were not the only costume worn by marchers. Others wore their causes on their sleeves, dressing in attire to call attention to issues like Native rights and environmental fears.

In video Sarah recorded a block or two from the main rally, it appears there were marchers in a menagerie of outfits.

Meanwhile, at a nearby metro station, NPR's Pam Fessler reported the mood among the demonstrators has been more festive than protests Friday. Most of the demonstrators are women, Pam says, but some men have joined the march, as well — including one man carrying a sign reading: "This is what a feminist looks like."

From the main rally stage, musicians and speakers addressed the crowd in an event that lasted some five hours — more than two hours longer than anticipated. The reason for that overflow was partly its smattering of surprise guests. Beyond the planned performances and speeches from figures like Janelle Monáe and Gloria Steinem, others including Madonna and Alicia Keys took the stage.

"It was woman that gave you Dr Martin Luther King Jr. It was woman who gave you Malcolm X. And according to the bible, it was a woman who gave you Jesus," Monáe told the crowd, according to The Guardian.

The Road To The March

What began simply as opposition to Trump has developed a wide-ranging list of demands, which organizers published as a platform prior to the march.

Protesters march near the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Becky Harlan/NPR hide caption

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Becky Harlan/NPR

But above all, organizers say, is the principle that "Women's Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women's Rights." That statement is pulled directly from a speech Hillary Clinton delivered more than two decades ago in Beijing.

Clinton tweeted her support for the march Saturday, expressing thanks "for standing, speaking & marching for our values."

Arriving at that platform was not always a smooth process, though. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports there has been disagreement between organizers about how to treat issues of race.

"This march was initially put together by white women, and a lot of women of color felt they weren't part of the conversation," Carmen Perez, one of the march's national organizers, told NPR's Hansi Lo Wang. "We can't continue to work in isolation. We can't continue to be one-dimensional. We have to make sure that we look up, that we begin to really coordinate our efforts."

(Left to right) Nadia da Rosa, 15, from Providence, R.I.; Anna Maria Evans from Durham, N.C.; and Nicole Monceaux from New York City attend the Women's March on Washington in D.C. Sait Serkan Gurbuz/AP hide caption

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Sait Serkan Gurbuz/AP

Ultimately, more than 200 organizations — ranging from Planned Parenthood and the NAACP, to Amnesty International and the AFL-CIO — partnered with the Women's March on Washington.

For Darcy Sawatzki, a demonstrator attending the march with her daughter, Delia, what matters most is showing up.

"I think showing up and paying attention is sort of one of the bare minimums of citizenship," Sawatzki told NPR's Brakkton Booker. It's not her first march; she has also participated in Black Lives Matter protests.

Sarah and her mom, Tamara, traveled from Detroit to be at the Women's March on Washington. Meg Kelly/NPR hide caption

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Meg Kelly/NPR

Sarah and her mom, Tamara, traveled from Detroit to be at the Women's March on Washington.

Meg Kelly/NPR

She said it's not unease with the new president that inspired her to march.

"I'm not here out of anger or fear, I'm out here for determination, for participation and hope that together we can make a difference."