Why these women are marching

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OUTSIDE TRUMP TOWER — A woman looks on as she takes part in a protest against President-elect Donald Trump in front of Trump Tower in New York on Nov. 10, 2016. Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

On Saturday, thousands of people will participate in the Women’s March on Washington, the
largest protest event around the inauguration of President Trump. Here are the stories of several people who traveled to Washington, D.C. by plane and car to attend the march.

Linda Aso and Alianna Noah-Rayon

When Linda Aso, 70, learned about the Women’s March on Washington, she immediately called her granddaughter.

Aso flew to Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning from her home in Portland, Oregon. Alianna Noah-Rayon, her 21-year-old granddaughter, arrived at the Capitol later that day from Missoula, Montana, where she is a junior at the University of Montana.

“Perhaps my legacy is to introduce my granddaughter to Washington DC and to the experience of marching,” said Aso, a retired music teacher.

As Trump supporters gathered in the Capitol on Friday to celebrate the new president, people like Aso and her granddaughter also flooded into Washington for the women’s march, which is set to take place on Saturday.

“Perhaps my legacy is to introduce my granddaughter to Washington DC and to the experience of marching.”

As many as 200,000 people are reportedly considering attending the march. Organizers began planning soon after Election Day, when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, the first female nominee of a major U.S. political party.

Aso said she was “monumentally disappointed” by the outcome of the election. An enthusiastic Clinton supporter, Aso said she feared Clinton’s loss sent a message to young women that, even with a good education, they faced limits in achieving the same success as men.

But Noah-Rayon, who is pursuing a double-major in forensic anthropology and criminology, seemed optimistic about the future.

Noah-Ryon said was passionate about women’s rights, reproductive health care access, and the rights of minority groups. Plenty of people at the march will share her views. But Noah-Rayon said she was just as interested in meeting people with different perspectives.

“This march is the child of all of these people’s deep passions that maybe they haven’t been able to release,” she said.

Reported by Hannah Grabenstein

Rebeca Champney

Rebeca Champney, a health care provider who lives in Los Angeles, is also traveling to Washington for the march on Saturday. Her decision to march in person stemmed from three things, Champney said: “I’m a woman. I’m a Latina. And I’m an immigrant.”

In a phone interview earlier this week, Champney, 50, said she was shot in the face in Guatemala in the late 1990s, the violence that followed the end of the country’s decades-long civil war. Champney said she moved to the United States looking for a safe place to raise her four children, whose father is a U.S. citizen.

Since emigrating to the U.S., “my children got all the opportunities I dreamt of: college, food, health,” Champney said.

With Mr. Trump’s election, she said, “I am a little afraid of what’s going on.” Champney, who is flying into Baltimore on Saturday and taking a bus to the march, said she was especially concerned about Mr. Trump’s rhetoric around immigrants, women and his views on foreign policy.

“My children got all the opportunities I dreamt of: college, food, health.”

But Champney said protest movements can make a difference. She recalled watching news coverage of the protests against government corruption in Guatemala in 2015, which resulted in the president’s resignation.

“I know the power of a voice that raises with other voices,” she said.

Reported by Elizabeth Flock

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa

When Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, the founder of the group New Wave Feminists, shows up at the march on Saturday, she knows she’ll stand out for more than her brightly-colored purple hair.

Her group’s slogan is “Badass. Prolife. Feminists.” Most of the attendees at the march, including the march’s partner organizations, are pro-choice.

“As pro-life feminists we firmly believe in nonviolence, and violence against women is never acceptable, even in the womb.”

New Wave Feminists does not advocate for making abortion illegal. But the group does call for policies that would make abortion “unthinkable and unnecessary.”

The group was added to the list of partners last week, but an article in The Atlantic sparked backlash, and march organizers removed them from the list.

Herndon-De La Rosa, who lives in Dallas, was disappointed by the decision because she said she believed being pro-life and feminist are not mutually exclusive. But she said it didn’t change her decision to attend the march. She flew in from Dallas on Friday, and said she was looking forward to the march.

“As pro-life feminists we firmly believe in nonviolence, and violence against women is never acceptable, even in the womb,” she said.

Reported by Gretchen Frazee

Ryan Cadiz

Despite the name of the march, not all of its attendees will be women.

Ryan Cadiz, 40, a photo editor who lives in New York, said he planned to march on Saturday to stand up for equal rights for all Americans.

“I am proud to be a brown, gay American,” said Cadiz, who identifies as queer. Cadiz, who voted for Hillary Clinton in the election, said he opposed President Trump’s views on a wide range of issues. “I want to continue to have the right to get married and have kids,” he said.

“I do believe that marching is an expression of the people’s power.”

Marching is also a form of protest against Trump, he said.

Cadiz said he thought Trump’s rise had brought out an ugly side of America, “from the hate speech that I now hear daily on public transportation, to the sexual assaults whose perpetrators [think they] won’t be punished because of the example that Trump has set.”

Still, Cadiz said he knew the event would not yield immediate results.

“I have no delusions that one march will change everything,” Cadiz said. “But I do believe that marching is an expression of the people’s power,” he says.

By Vicky Pasquantonio

Jessica Neuwirth

Many people think the Equal Rights Amendment was passed in the 1970’s. But passage of the ERA — a longtime goal of the women’s rights movement — didn’t happen. While it passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states for ratification, it fell three states short and has languished in recent decades.

Originally presented by the suffragette leader Alice Paul in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment calls for ““Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States of by any state on account of sex.”

Jessica Neuwirth, an attorney who heads the ERA Coalition and is planning to attend the march,
said the election created a “sense of urgency” for the women’s rights movement. Neuwirth is driving from New York to Washington, D.C. for the march with her mother and her niece.

“I think what we would consider progress for women in 2017 hasn’t changed because of the election. Our goal post has not changed, it’s just become harder,” said Neuwirth, whose group advocates for the passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

At the same time, Neuwirth said the election caused many activists to reflect on the movement’s broader goals.

“After the election, and in light of everything that happened during the campaign, and some of the fears that have been really aggravated by things that have been said, I think there was a sense of maybe we need to regroup,” so the Coalition decided to broaden their platform.

“The twin pillars that we’ve been talking about are sex and race, as the two key areas that were omitted very intentionally by the founders from the constitution.”

By Sandy Petrykowski

Chia Morgan

For Chia Morgan, a 30-year-old resident of Flint, Michigan, the march represents an opportunity to draw attention to a more local issue.

Flint experienced its 1,000th day without clean water last Thursday, a grim milestone in the city’s ongoing water crisis. “I’m marching to keep that in the forefront,” said Morgan, a social worker. “We want to make sure that it is not a forgotten situation. We are still in crisis.”

“Can’t is not an option. If all of the odds against, you bust through those odds.”

But Morgan said she was also marching to break down the glass ceiling for her 4-year-old daughter. In an interview earlier this week, Morgan said she planned to drive with her daughter to Washington, D.C. for the march, and might bring her along.

“When [my daughter] tells me she can’t do something, I tell her, ‘Can’t is not an option. If all of the odds are against you, you bust through those odds.’”

Hopefully the march will also send a message to President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress, she added.

“All of these women have made this journey from across the world,” Morgan said. “And maybe if they are all coming together, maybe [the new administration] should listen.”

By Kristen Doerer

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