The Women’s March on Washington also inspired hundreds of “sister” marches around the nation and world, and was focused primarily on women’s rights. But advocates for dozens of causes showed up to stand together against the new Trump administration.
“So many women and men came together who are interested in different issues. Yet we’re all coming together for social justice,” Jillian Gilcrest, a march co-organizer and former policy director for the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, said.
While no official estimates of crowd size are available yet, march organizers and police officers around the city estimated between 700,000 and 1 million people. The D.C. Metro system tweeted that 597,000 people had ridden the metro by 4 p.m.
The Connecticut arm of the Women’s March sent 80 buses to Washington carrying more than 5,000 state residents. Organizers estimated several thousand more were taking their own transportation to the nation’s Capitol.
“From the time we first got onto to train, I really began to understand how many people were making their way to D.C.,” Samantha Parsons, one of the Connecticut organizers, said.
“It was amazing that this started with one post on Facebook two months ago,” she said, in reference to a post from organizer Bob Bland. “To think of how much groundwork had to happen, what all these people did.”
Parson said she felt “disoriented” after the election and reached out to organizers when she caught wind of the march on Facebook. Many of the other organizers had a similar story.
“The day after the election, I was distraught … I needed an outlet for that emotion,” Gilchrest said.
All of the Connecticut organizers were volunteers and most were strangers before November.
“We found each other through Facebook just a couple of weeks after the election,” Andrea Berman, another said.
Many of the marchers had a similar story.
“For me, I felt like if I didn’t come I was normalizing the rhetoric in this campaign,” said Lin Larsen, who came from Fairbanks, Alaska for the march.
“After the election, I felt like I had to do something … I joined my local resistance organization but I felt like I had to be here today,” said Syracuse resident Lisa Harrell. “I haven’t been involved in any big way before, but “now I’m going to be involved until he’s out of office, and from then on.”
Some had criticized the march as exclusive and too narrowly focused on women’s issues. Harrell didn’t agree.
“All of these people have common ground with each other. I can talk about reproductive rights and still support the black lives matter movement. I don’t see us as divided,” she said.
“It’s a historic day and we all have to show that we stand for something greater than what’s happening.”
Andy Carroll, along with his daughter Mica and wife Valerie carried signs carried signs depicting women leaders throughout history to the National Mall. They came with a group of friends who had come from as far away as Spain to take part.
“It’s a historic day and we all have to show that we stand for something greater than what’s happening. This was a great moment to do something and show solidarity,” he said.
After violence at protests on Friday that led to more than 200 arrests, the march was remarkably peaceful despite crowds doubling the anticipated size.
“We’ve been standing around here for hours and no one is mad. We can’t see the stage, we can’t hear the speakers, you don’t know where to go, the bathroom lines are ridiculous, and we’re fine. I haven’t heard any complaining,” Lorie Honor, a Staten Island woman who helped bring several hundred women to the march, said.
“This is the crowd I want to be a part of. Even though we were so squeezed in, everybody was so kind and polite,” Laura Bridges, a teacher from Northern Virginia, said.
Not a single arrest had been reported by early Saturday evening.
“We’re all in it to show our number. We’re not here to have a good time or come back with an experience,” Honor said. “We’re here to show that each one of us precious little snowflakes that they view us as being, what a storm that can make.”