Women's March Activism After 100 Days: Can The Enthusiasm Hold? The event in Washington, D.C., the day after President Trump's inauguration animated activists worldwide. It spurred more marches and political involvement. But the next phase is a challenging one.
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100 Days In, Women's March Still Inspires. But Can The Enthusiasm Hold?

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100 Days In, Women's March Still Inspires. But Can The Enthusiasm Hold?

100 Days In, Women's March Still Inspires. But Can The Enthusiasm Hold?

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

There's been a lot of focus on Donald Trump's first 100 days. But the same weekend that Donald Trump was inaugurated, there was another major news event. Thousands of people turned out for the Women's March on Washington, and there were marches all over the world as well. Many of those who marched opposed Donald Trump's policy agenda on a variety of issues - the environment, immigration and abortion, just to name a few. Here's Jackie Knight who came to the march from Durham, N.C.

JACKIE KNIGHT: I'm going to call all my family members and tell them what an awesome experience this was and that they need to join the events that we're going to continue to have around the country.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So a lot of optimism, a lot of hope. So while everyone evaluates the Trump presidency, we wanted to know a hundred days later, what can we say the Women's March has accomplished? For more, we asked NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben to join us in the studio.

Good morning.

DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN, HOST:

Hello.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So the day of the march, you had throngs of women and men in the streets. What came out of all that energy?

KURTZLEBEN: That energy created some concrete accomplishments. For example, I spoke to one organizer of last weekend's March for Science. She told me that the Women's March directly inspired the March for Science.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But what about concrete results? Has there been an uptick in political action?

KURTZLEBEN: There has. For one thing, the women who organized the Women's March afterwards continued doing this kind of organizing. They started doing this thing they called 10 Actions / 100 Days, where they sent out these calls for women to do things like register to vote, meet up with your friends and talk about what kind of organizing you can do in your own community. So they did that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And maybe show up at some of these town hall meetings from Republican...

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Congressmen when they're heading home.

KURTZLEBEN: Yes. So we've certainly seen that. And aside from that, you just heard a lot of women - and I've spoken to some - who have said, you know, I am actually calling my Congress member. I'm sending out postcards. One woman told me she sent faxes. I haven't heard anybody say that in years.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTZLEBEN: One other thing - you've heard women saying that this march inspired them to want to run for office. EMILY's List, which helps elect pro-choice Democratic women, says that this year they have had 11,000 women reach out to them and say, they want - they are interested in running for office. Now, they compare that to the last cycle, the 2016 cycle, where they said, they had 900 women...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So that's a huge jump.

KURTZLEBEN: Right. And you have - that is just one organization that's doing that. There are plenty of others.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Did the moment launch a movement though? I guess what I'm asking here is, can the enthusiasm last?

KURTZLEBEN: Well, it's an interesting question because it's kind of hard to say that the Women's March launched a movement because it was at the intersection of so many movements. You had people there who were fighting for what they call climate justice, criminal justice, racial issues, women's issues. So it's hard to say that this sparked a movement. So on the one hand, you know, you had a broad array of groups, all of that energy. On the other hand, this has caused a lot of people to compare the Women's March, unfavorably, to the Occupy Movement of 2011, which many people criticized as being too scattered to accomplish all of that much.

I mean, to bring this down to a human level, I talked to one attendee. She likened trying to be an activist during the Trump administration, to whack-a-mole. And she said, you know, listen, I care about a lot of these areas; I only have enough energy for one or two. And I think you may be hearing that from a lot of people.

And then on top of that, you have the facts that keeping up this energy over time - the Women's March, you know, was 100 days ago, but it's a year and a half until the midterm elections. I mean, maintaining this kind of energy could prove very difficult. I mean, think about all those thousands of women who have said they're interested in running for office. Then think about how much it takes to get one person on the ballot, get money, advertise. Then multiply that by all of those thousands women. So there's a lot more to do before we might see this march really come to fruition.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Danielle Kurtzleben covers politics for NPR. Thanks so much.

KURTZLEBEN: Of course.

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