Approximately 500,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C., Saturday — one day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, which drew a significantly smaller crowd — for the Women’s March on Washington, a peaceful protest to show support for women, who feel their rights are threatened by the Trump administration.
“There is so much at stake [with] this upcoming administration,” protestor Candice Fortin told Rolling Stone. “Women are the majority in this country. Our voices should hold weight.”
About 10 percent of participants in the Women’s March on Washington came from college campuses across the country, with at least 350 members of the Rutgers University chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in attendance. Additionally, AAUP members took part in more than 600 sister marches across the U.S.
Union College, a private liberal arts school in Schenectady, N.Y., sent a group of 45 students and 10 faculty members to join the march in D.C.
“Especially with Trump’s campaign and how he treated women and how he viewed them, I needed to go there to prove that women’s issues are not things to be set aside. They are not minor issues; they are things that need to be brought to the forefront in this country,” Christie Dionisos, a sophomore at Union who helped organized the trip, told The Daily Gazette.
Union professor Andrea Foroughi, who also helped organize the trip, said the march gave her renewed hope in the power of unity and diversity to result in change.
“It was more moving than I had imagined to see streets and sidewalks, for more than a mile, filled with people sharing common cause,” Foroughi told The Daily Gazette.
Millions convened across the country and world in solidarity with the Women’s March, with protests in all 50 states as well as in major cities overseas, including London, Paris, Tokyo, and Sydney. Although many protestors came to vocalize their opposition to Trump’s presidency, others came to voice their support for underserved groups such as the LGBTQ community, ethnic minorities, and those who are economically disadvantaged.
Although the future of this movement is uncertain, following the Women’s March on Washington, its leaders held a networking session titled “Where Do We Go from Here?” They plan to study protest movements that have taken place across the U.S. in hopes of identifying major issues addressed by these events. They also aim to recruit volunteers to help plan similar events around the 2018 midterm elections.
“I wouldn’t have spent 18 hours in Washington, D.C., and taken the bus for seven hours both ways if I didn’t believe there was going to be a part two, and three, and four, and five,” protestor Deb Szeman told the Niagara Gazette.