Women across Philadelphia are uniting in solidarity with the national Women’s March on Washington in support of this simple message: It’s not politics. It’s personal.
The march takes place Jan. 21, one day after President-elect Donald Trump is to be inaugurated. Organizers obtained permits for a rally at Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, in front of the Capitol building.
Participants are then scheduled to march along Independence Avenue. The march is expected to end near the White House, at Constitution Avenue between 15th and 17th streets Northwest.
Philadelphia organizers have scheduled bus transportation to D.C. for the event. The Philadelphia Society of Clinical Psychologists is selling $55 round-trip tickets, departing from 4000 Monument Road at and arriving that day at Union Station at 10 a.m.
Pennsylvania state organizers Alexandra Hackett Ferber, Heidi Solomon-Orlick and Tam Williams are also working to mobilize as many people in the state as possible.
“We want to give people the opportunity and courage to make their voice heard,” Hackett Ferber said. “If we can empower those people and help them find their way to D.C., that’s what matters.”
For supporters unable to attend the march in Washington, the Philadelphia chapter of the Women’s March on Washington is scheduling a march here, with a gathering at 10 a.m. in Logan’s Square and a rally at Eakins Oval until 3 p.m.
“The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us ... We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear,” the group’s Facebook page reads. ... “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.”
Permits reportedly estimate the turnout for the Women’s March in D.C. at around 200,000.
For many participants, it may conjure memories of the Million Women’s March in Philadelphia, in Oct. 1997. Two years after the Million Man March in Washington, an estimated 750,000 African American women marched down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia October 25. The day was filled with speeches, music and prayer.
The Million Women’s March grassroots approach to organizing involved Black women sharing information through groups such as Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black media and word of mouth. Organized by Phile Chionesu and Asia Coney, that march focused on the idea of Black women supporting each other. Speakers had included Jada Pinkett Smith, Sistah Souljah and the daughters of Malcolm X. Assata Shakur also read a message from Cuba. People marching held signs that read “I am one in a million,” and “Black Women: No more AIDS, abuse, addiction,” according to CNN.
Even though the Women’s March on Washington was launched after the presidential election by primarily white women, organizers say they are working to make the event as inclusive as possible.
The Women’s March on Washington Diversity Outreach group boasts 1,000 members online. Members include women with disabilities, those in the LGBT community and even a few men. Pennsylvania organizer Tam Williams wrote on Facebook that the march is not an “us against them” protest, and it is not a protest against Trump.
“This is an organized grassroots march to raise awareness on national and local level for women’s issues,” Williams said.
Hackett Ferber credited much of the success in outreach to social media websites.
“I wouldn’t have met Heidi or Tam except through Facebook,” she said. People also used the Facebook pages for the march to pour out their emotions after the hotly contested presidential election.
The Philadelphia solidarity march is currently accepting donations online at crowdrise.com/womens-march-on-philadelphia.
“It’s astounding to see power of social media to see something like this go viral,” Solomon-Orlick said. “It shows that collectively as women, we want to come together and fight against injustice, evil and wrongdoing.”