Women's March On Washington Starts To Move Toward White House

Jan 21, 2017
Originally published on January 21, 2017 2:27 pm
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Huge crowds have been gathering, really, all across the globe today for women's marches in response to the one in Washington, D.C. Demonstrators in D.C. are about to make their way to the White House. NPR's Sarah McCammon is at the main event. Sarah, thanks for being with us.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Yeah, hi, Scott.

SIMON: Numbers seem to have been growing, right?

MCCAMMON: Yeah. Just, you know, I've been out here near the mall for several hours here in D.C. And, really, just people have continued for most of the morning and now into the early afternoon to march through the streets, to come off the subway. You know, the morning was dominated by - has been dominated by a rally. And the official march kicks off a little bit later here this afternoon. But, already, people are marching through the streets. I don't know if you can hear the drums behind me. And it's kind of a celebratory mood but also serious in certain ways.

SIMON: Well - and what are you hearing from the people gathered there? What are they telling you about what brings them all there?

MCCAMMON: You know, a lot of concerns about what this new Trump administration means for women's rights. Certainly, that's sort of the focal, unifying message here - but also for lots of other issues. I've heard people mention health-care coverage, climate change, regard for science, immigrants' rights, how minorities are treated in society. You know, I've heard lots of concerns.

One woman was holding a sign that just said, I'm afraid. And a lot of people are telling me that they are concerned about the tone that was set during this campaign and what that means going forward. But, of course, it is the Women's March, so women's issues are sort of the unifying and central theme here.

SIMON: From the - if this could be said to be a vantage point that we have here in the studio, it's become obvious that there are - forgive me - marchers, really, all over the country, all over the world that have grown in size, I think, much larger than anyone in our industry had been anticipating. And I wonder if the people there on the mall are aware of that.

MCCAMMON: Yeah, I mean, I've heard people mention that - that this is, you know, bringing people from all over the country to D.C. and that they're part of something bigger. You know, one young woman, a college student here, said she just, you know, was excited to be there. You know, there's been a little bit of controversy earlier on amongst the organizers and about the organization - whether, you know, enough diverse voices were included in putting this together.

But I spoke to one African-American, young woman who said she feels like, you know, that's kind of behind her. And she is excited with sort of the unity she's seeing here for people all over the country. And I am also hearing people say that they plan to go back home and get involved in their local politics, which - no doubt some of these folks across the country holding marches in their local communities plan to do the same.

SIMON: What happens next this afternoon?

MCCAMMON: Well, the rally is scheduled to wrap up around 2 o'clock Eastern time. And that's when the official march is going to kick off. And, I mean, it's safe to say many thousands of marchers will be marching through D.C. Already, I am looking at a crowd of marchers who can't get into the rally and are marching through the streets right now.

SIMON: NPR's Sarah McCammon, thanks so much for being with us and your coverage all day.

MCCAMMON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.