On Donald Trump’s first day in the office of the presidency, people from across the country will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington. Representatives from the Black Women Organized for Political Action Richmond chapter have plans to attend the D.C. event—and a sister march in Oakland.
“It’s a march to support and inspire each other and our nation, and to celebrate, honor and protect our diversity, our freedom and our human rights,” said Casey Diter, one of leading organizers of the three main scheduled Bay Area marches in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose.
The marches, which Diter said will be non-partisan and all-inclusive, are being advertised as opportunities for unity and tolerance, rather than as anti-Trump protests.
“This past election has ignited a lot of emotion and fear and concern for our human rights, and our civil liberties,” said Diter. “We hope that the lawmakers in our country understand the depth of our defense of our human rights, and our rights as Americans.”
Kathleen Sullivan, president of the BWOPA’s Richmond chapter, said that her organization is still in the early stages of planning, but that several members have expressed interest in sending delegations to the Washington and Oakland marches. Representatives from other BWOPA chapters are also likely to attend, Sullivan said.
The satellite marches offer a chance for local organizations to represent smaller communities in a national movement, and to get their message out, whether it’s targeting social injustice, women or equality, said Diter.
Organizers at Richmond’s RYSE Center have said that they are beginning to plan their own “march for justice” after the Inauguration, though it won’t be focused solely on women’s issues.
“I guarantee there will be actions that likely come out of Richmond,” said RYSE executive director Kimberly Aceves. “We’re certainly not going be quiet.”
Jennifer Piscopo, an assistant professor of politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles, said it’s not surprising that community groups and others are organizing protest marches after Inauguration Day, because it’s the “focal point at the beginning of the administration.”
It’s also a way to sustain the momentum of resistance to Trump’s presidency that has been seen across the country since the November election, she said, and a way of “reminding people what they will be fighting for the next four years.”
But Piscopo also said that protest marches won’t do as much to change policies as working hard to elect allies to local and national political offices will.
Donna Lent, president of the National Women’s Political Caucus, a pro-choice multi-partisan group that recently signed on as an organizer for the Women’s March on Washington, agreed.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve marched on Washington,” Lent said. “I can’t believe we’re still doing this.”