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(REUTERS/Joshua Lott)

'Hear our voice'

Plans take shape for Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017

November 14, 2016

Organizers of the January 21, 2017 Women’s March on Washington – originally billed as the Million Women March – have revealed additional details about the planned event. The national Facebook page for the protest indicates it will begin at 10 a.m. at the Lincoln Memorial and conclude at 5 p.m. The Lincoln Memorial was the site of Martin Luther King Jr’s stirring “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, before a crowd of more than 250,000 civil rights supporters.

On Monday, national organizers released an official statement, outlining their vision. “The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us — women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault,” they wrote. “We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.”

“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us,” they added.

The march is seen by organizers as the first step in creating change “from the grassroots level up” to achieve parity and equity for women at all levels of leadership. “We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. HEAR OUR VOICE,” the statement concluded.

Since last Thursday, when the organizers announced their intentions on Facebook to “welcome everyone who supports women’s rights” to attend the event, related pages have been established for almost every state in the U.S., with additional pages promised soon for supporters from Canada, Mexico and elsewhere outside America.


Participants are encouraged to organize and crowdfund at the state level, and “work at the local level to fund women who cannot afford to come.”

Fontaine Pearson, 54, one of the march’s organizers based in Memphis, told CNN that the march is not a protest against President-elect Donald Trump (who will be inaugurated as the 45th American president the day before the demonstration) or the legitimacy of the election, but aims to illuminate women’s issues, including sexual assault and workplace discrimination. “We’re strong, but this has been a very difficult election for a lot of women,” Pearson said, adding that supporters for the action came from both sides of the political aisle.

In an interview on Friday with Thomson Reuters Foundation, organizer Bob Bland said “a lot of women got up the second day [after the Election results] with the same idea” for a march on Washington, and coordinated on social media.

“We need to be working together in a coherent, supportive way over the next four years, to activate more women into leadership positions, to be more politically active,” Bland said. “We cannot allow ourselves to give up, put our heads down and not hold this administration accountable for any violation of human rights or women’s rights.”

One of the Women's March on Washington organizers, Bob Bland. (Facebook/Bob Bland)
Women’s March on Washington organizer Bob Bland aims to ‘activate more women into leadership positions.’ (Facebook/Bob Bland)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.


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