The Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, Jan. 21, one day after the Presidential Inauguration of Donald J. Trump, is shaping up to be a historic event, with more than 200,000 people expected to attend. There are also more than 600 “sister marches” planned in towns and cities across the country, including Trenton and New York City.
Many marchers are mothers and their daughters. Natalie Morrison, a junior at Columbia High School and Maplewood resident, will be one of them. “I’ll be marching with my mom [Sarah], and we both are very excited to have the opportunity to have our voices heard in the fight against oppression,” said Morrison. She added that this is the first time she and her mother were participating in such a large-scale protest. “For me, [Trump’s] nomination was the last straw.” Her mother sees the march as an opportunity to speak up for those who cannot, including LGBTQ women and women of color.
Some local businesses are joining as well. A large contingent of employees from Able Baker in Maplewood will be on one of the buses. “We will have scones and cookies bagged and ready for people getting an early start on Saturday,” said owner Julie Pauly. Over at Cedar Ridge Cafe, employee Manuela Tauscher is headed to DC, while co-worker Ben Petty will be marching in New York City.
Meanwhile, South Orange resident Hildy Karp took on the formidable task of serving as unofficial coordinator and point person for the SOMA caravan. She has chartered buses, assigned captains, and coordinated with the two towns to enable parking rules to be suspended over the weekend, and serving as main communicator of all information. “I’m pretty much managing all the logistics and managing the many folks taking on bits and pieces,” said Karp.
Karp’s role began accidentally when she sent out a Facebook post to around 40 friends in the area asking if anyone wanted to carpool or take the train together to go the march. Within 24 hours the group had hundreds of members; it has now soared past 2,000 people who hail from South Orange, Maplewood and surrounding towns.
Many local residents are headed to New York City, including the Weeks family of South Orange, marching with the Eleanor’s Legacy group. Cathy Lankenau-Weeks said she, her husband and her two daughters are attending along with Cathy’s mother and sister, and several close female family friends.
Karp said she thinks Trump’s election has galvanized so many because of his “blatant disregard for women” and his “vitriol and antipathy towards so many — people of color, immigrants, women, disabled.” Trump’s cabinet picks “will have repercussions for years and years to come.”