Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump won the presidential race in November, a retiree in Hawaii named Teresa Shook logged on to Facebook and suggested that women should protest his election at the inauguration in January. A few hours later, Shook closed her computer and went to sleep. By the time she woke up, 10,000 women had responded.
And as of this week, close to 185,000 people are planning to attend. In just 10 weeks, the Women’s March on Washington has become a full-throated movement, gathering women from all over the United States. According to the Washington Post, the demonstration is on track to be the biggest protest of the inaugural weekend.
We’ll be updating this post with everything you need to know, but first, here’s how it came to be:
November 8, 2016
Teresa Shook, a retired grandmother who lives in Maui, Hawaii, took to Facebook to express her horror at the outcome of the presidential election. Posting to Pantsuit Nation, a Facebook group that sprung up in support of Hillary Clinton, she wrote: “I think we should march.”
Within a few hours, 40 women had replied, saying they wanted to go. By the next day, 10,000 women were in.
November 11, 2016
Women in the World picks up the march, which has been christened the Million Women March on D.C. Shook has already accepted volunteers’ offers to help her plan what’s become a massive enterprise, including activist Bob Bland, who’d had an idea for a similar march and immediately reached out to Shook.
Women in the World writes that organizers have created Facebook pages in individual states and that the de facto national page outlines the specifics of the march:
[Participants will] march from the Lincoln Memorial to [the] White House to show our strength, power and courage and demonstrate our disapproval of the new president and his values in a peaceful march. ALL women, femme, trans, gender non-conforming and feminist others are invited to march on Washington DC the day following the inauguration of the President elect. This march is a show of solidarity to demand our safety and health in a time when our country is marginalizing us and making sexual assault an electable and forgivable norm. We align with all POC and LGBTQ causes, and we will show our support in a non-violent protest.
November 14, 2016
Between November 11 and November 14, the march is rechristened the Women’s March on Washington. It had drawn almost immediate criticism for its first name, which many felt was appropriative of the Million Women March that black women organized in Philadelphia, in 1997.
After several prominent activists and many women of color observe that the organizers of the march are all white, the march moves to diversify its leadership.
November 17, 2016
Brittany Oliver, an activist based in Baltimore, Maryland, publishes an open letter to the march’s organizers explaining why she won’t support the demonstration. She writes:
In the beginning, the march was named “One Million Woman,” and soon after being made aware you were co-opting a march led by Black women in 1997, then you decided to change the name to “March on Washington.” Well, this was another Black-led march that advocated for civil rights and culminated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.
Overall, you all have co-opted the messaging of these two very important historical moments in Black history and it’s unfortunate because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to preserve Black activism. Politically co-opting efforts with “ALL WOMEN” and “ALL VOICES” is merely an attempt to erase the specific needs of people of African descent.
November 18, 2016
The New York Times writes that a request for a permit to march is “still pending” and that a spokesman for the National Park Service has said that the NPS has “13 requests currently under review.”
November 20, 2016
The march has named four co-chairs—Bob Bland, its co-founder, Tamika Malloy, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour. Malloy, Perez, and Sarsour are veteran activists who’ve stepped in to help realize the event. They publish a statement on Facebook to explain the march’s intent:
November 23, 2016
Given that permits have not yet been secured, Slate reports that the Women’s March on Washington will likely not take place on the Lincoln Memorial. Carmen Perez tells Slate that she and her fellow coordinators are “now looking at nearby places.”
December 15, 2016
The Associated Press writes that police in Washington have issued a permit for the march, which will be permitted to convene near the Capitol and continue down Independence Avenue. It will start at 10 a.m. and conclude around 5 p.m. According to police, organizers estimated around 200,000 people will gather for the event.
December 22, 2016
Organizers have corralled a “massive fleet” of busses to shepherd attendees from New York to Washington, D.C. According to the Huffington Post, “busses will pick up marchers in 56 neighborhoods, traveling 70 distinct routes and return to the city the same day. Tickets cost $62 (plus tax) round-trip.”
“It is our highest priority to ensure that this march is accessible for people from every demographic in New York. We hope that by providing routes in far-reaching neighborhoods, the diversity of our city can be truly represented at this historic gathering,” Karen Waltuch, the chapter coordinator for New York City, said in a statement.
December 28, 2016
The Women’s March on Washington makes a slew of announcements, naming Harry Belafonte and Gloria Steinem as honorary co-chairs and unveiling a formal alliance with Planned Parenthood. The organization will help coordinate online promotion, volunteers, and staff and will advise the march on security protocol.
January 5, 2017
The Washington Post Express, a free insert from the Washington Post, puts the “massive march” on its cover, which is nice and appropriate given its enormous scale. Except the magazine mixes up the symbols for male and female.
The mishap is awkward and an almost poetic snapshot of exactly why women need to march in the first place.
January 9, 2017
The march announces its star-studded celeb line-up, including America Ferrera, Uzo Aduba, Cher, Danielle Brooks, Katy Perry, Amy Schumer, Constance Wu, Zendaya, and many more.
The march will be held on January 21, starting at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the march’s Facebook page here.
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