The day after Republican Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, about 250,000 people are expected to participate in the Women’s March on Washington in support of women’s rights. About 1,000 Missourians, including Sarah Potter, will march. Potter helped organize the Women’s March on Washington for Missouri and says the event is to showcase the need to expand women’s rights and protect the rights of all people.
“Women’s rights are human rights. We’re marching, not just for our own rights but for all marginalized groups. A lot of the rhetoric of the election threatened a number of people. We’re very concerned about that and we want to stand up for people who are feeling scared and threatened and make a big statement that this is not going to stand and we will fight back,” says Potter.
Advocates want changes to policies like paid family leave, affordable healthcare and access to abortion and birth control.
“We thought we’d be talking about this under a Clinton administration and moving forward but we’re very concerned that we may be moving backward on a lot of those rights,” says Potter.
The march has gone global. Potter says more than 300 marches are planned nationwide and more than 60 marches internationally.
“I believe the election was a wakeup call to a lot of folks who thought the type of xenophobia and discrimination that we heard was not going to stand,” says Potter. “I think people were very surprised when Mr. Trump was elected, but this is not a march about Trump. We’re really looking at policies and making sure that the policies that go into effect from this administration support women and support marginalized groups.”
Police have had to use pepper spray and tear gas to try and control some violent protesters near the capitol on Inauguration Day. Potter says the focus of the event is a peaceful march.
“We’re going to have our kids and families there. We’re just looking to make our voices heard,” says Potter. “We’re hoping the march is a starting point, that it’s activating a lot of women who are going to start advocating for policies that support women, supporting civil rights of all different types of folks.”
Similar marches will also be held on Saturday in St. Louis, Columbia, Kansas City and Springfield.