Women's Marches A 'Start To Something Bigger' For Weekend's Protesters

Jan 22, 2017
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Hundreds of thousands of women and some men came to the nation's capital for the Women's March on Washington yesterday. This morning, many of those women were heading home with a big question on their minds - what now? NPR's Adrian Florido spent the morning at Washington D.C.'s Union Station talking to women waiting to catch trains home.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Last call for 51.

ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: Jennifer Shotwell was waiting for the train to Baltimore, sitting with the signs she made for the protest.

JENNIFER SHOTWELL: This one says together resist an unjust, misogynist patriarchy.

FLORIDO: She'd written the first letter of each word in bold, spelling Trump. This weekend, D.C. public trash cans were overflowing with signs like this. But Shotwell said she was taking hers home.

SHOTWELL: Because we're going to need them again, I'm sure.

FLORIDO: Like each of the women I spoke with this morning, Shotwell said she was headed home from the march determined to continue resisting President Trump's proposals for things like health care, climate change and immigration, proposals she sees as either harmful or hateful. For her, protests will be important. Other women had other plans, like calling their members of Congress. Rama Rao is a doctor from New York City.

RAMA RAO: Yeah, I already have a planned call for Monday morning (laughter) about the Cabinet.

FLORIDO: Other women said they were going to try to convey to their loved ones the overwhelming emotions they felt during the march in the hope of motivating them. Frances Anne Ribillia Williams came from her native Hawaii. Before the march, she visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and found her brother's name.

FRANCES ANNE RIBILLIA WILLIAMS: And I was so moved because as soon as I left there, I felt his spirit follow me and I was able to march the whole way. And I feel like I wish I had my daughters with me. I have things to show - my heart - to show to them. We need to continue work for women.

FLORIDO: Jackie Knight was headed home to 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.

FLORIDO: After the march, one influential Democrat worried that the energy of the march would fizzle after people went their separate ways. But Paula del Rio, headed home to Georgia, said that didn't worry her.

PAULA DEL RIO: If that will be true, then the civil rights movement died also after the march. And I don't think so. I think actually it's helping us to realize how much work we have to do.

FLORIDO: She plans to get more involved in local politics. Jennifer Epps-Addison was headed home to LA, where she runs a nonprofit that supports local activism. She hopes this weekend was a start to something bigger.

JENNIFER EPPS-ADDISON: You know, I think it's great to see people marching. But could you imagine if every single person who was marching split off into a neighborhood and started knocking on doors and talking to their fellow constituents - so the people who didn't come out and participate - how different our country would look?

FLORIDO: And Debbie DeCotis said she plans to start donating to Planned Parenthood. She was sitting having coffee and wearing one of the now-famous pink hats from the march.

DEBBIE DECOTIS: It's a pussy beanie. We were a sea of pussy power beanies yesterday marching in this parade.

FLORIDO: DeCotis was here with Robin Miller, also of New York.

ROBIN MILLER: What we were discussing is that instead of walking around with the pink hats, we're going to have pins, not-for-profit pins made that will show support for the women and for the immigrants. And if you do that nationwide and around the world, you have this ability to have people know you're in my club. You're on my side. And I think that'll be a great effort to kind of mobilize everybody in the world.

FLORIDO: Miller said she's already working the logistics over in her head. Adrian Florido, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.