WASHINGTON – On the first full day of the Donald Trump presidency, the resistance came roaring to life.
“By the way, I wore my ‘don’t F with me’ jacket to this rally,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill., one of the speakers at the “Women’s March on Washington” rally that preceded the march.
The senator wore leather.
The march here drew massive pink-hatted crowds on the National Mall, closing down adjacent streets. It was among a series of marches worldwide.
“We’ve elected an impossible president. We are never going home. We are staying together and we are taking over,” said Gloria Steinem, a veteran of the women’s movement that on Saturday marked its revival.
It’s a new era for a movement spawned not by Hillary Clinton, but by Trump.
With the GOP controlling the White House and Congress, the November election is a reminder that advances for women are transitory, not permanent.
The outpouring on Saturday – here, in Chicago and other cities – 673 “sister marches” across the globe, according to march organizers – is about the threats the Trump presidency presents on a wide range of issues.
They were marching for many reasons, various causes. Some simply to bear witness, coming together here at a march fueled by social media.
Lindsey Rayner, 20, of Schaumburg, bought plane tickets for a flight here before the November vote. The junior University of Iowa political science and communications studies student was expecting to attend Hillary Clinton’s inauguration.
Instead, she was here for a protest march, not to celebrate the launch of the first female presidency. But Rayner said the march can help people stay connected and “make sure that we can effectively translate our issues to people in power.”
Rebecca Baruc, 24, an artist from Lakeview, was on the Mall carrying a hand-painted sign with a quote from author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “An ugly idea left unchallenged begins to turn the color of normal.”
“I just felt there was nothing else to do but unite,” Baruc said. And be able to look around and see that I am not alone. That feels really comforting. I wanted to witness the scale of folks who also felt like me.”
The Wagner family drove here from Mount Prospect.
“It’s an uncertain time in history and I think a lot of people are scared of the future and have no idea of what it is going to bring,” said Will Wagner, 52, a writer and editor. “So you just feel you have to take some sort of action…I just kind of feel like we are at a crossroads in history,” he said.
“I think the important message is..there are so many things that feel like they have been under attack that we need to show up here in solidarity,” said his wife, Cassie Wagner, who works in communications at a bank. “This is only the first step. We need to come out of this and continue.”
Also making the trip were their daughter, Olivia, 16, a junior at Prospect High School, and her classmate, Rosa Weiss, 16, from Arlington Heights.
The Washington march was the brainchild of a woman in Hawaii, swiftly spreading with the power of social media which eventually led to some financial help from Democratic allied groups.
Wagner said the march — with perhaps millions now connected on social media — will help sustain this new grass roots movement.
Lorin Smits, 21,of South Holland, is an accounting senior at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. She supported neither Trump nor Clinton.
“I didn’t lean either way this year,” she said. “I kind of came for the experience.”
Women’s rights and equal treatment are important to her. A few years ago, she was here for a Right to Life march.
“I think it’s been better than I expected, positive vibes. It’s been nice and respectful. This is a bi-partisan respect women march, that’s my take on it.”
Smits is here for an interim class to study the transition of power.
She is getting some powerful lessons.