Why they marched

We asked people at the Women’s March in Washington, DC, why they showed up.

The Women’s March took place this Saturday, January 21, in Washington, DC, bringing out an estimated 500,000 men and women for a peaceful protest the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

President. Donald. Trump. Let that sink in for a moment.

Yes, Friday was a dark day, but the DC march, as well as satellite marches that took place across the country — and the globe — offered lots of people a much-needed moment of solidarity. We went to DC and talked to some of the attendees, asking them all one question: Why are you marching?

Annette Shrager

“I’m here to show that I disapprove of the politics that we’re going to have. We’re entering a very dangerous time with the new president and all that he represents. I didn’t like how he campaigned. I was for Hillary, I worked for her, but it didn’t work out. But I haven’t given up! That’s another reason that I’m here. That’s the main reason I’m here.”

Nikki Edmunds and Airial Smith

Airial and Nikki: “Women’s rights.”

Nikki: “And just to march with other people. I’m not from DC originally, so it’s cool to see this large crowd and people from New York and Georgia and other states coming in to march and just exercise free speech.”

Michael Creighton and Christopher Wiggins

Michael: “We came out today to stand up for women’s reproductive rights and to let women have the choices they want with their body.”

Christopher: “To kind of just have my voice heard and know that there are people here fighting against all that’s happening.”

Kiah Victoria

“To be honest, I was kind of anti ‘go and protest’ and then I realized that it’s not really about protesting. It’s more just about togetherness because I have been feeling a bit displaced and lonely. And I’m like ‘Oh! I can be around thousands of people that might feel like I do!’ But it wasn’t until like two days that I woke up and I was like ‘Fuck this. Why didn’t I already get a bus ticket?’ I waited a while, so I had to spend more money, but I feel like it’s worth it. I feel like I’d look back and be kind of disappointed with myself if I wasn’t with people who feel like me.”

Amy Leon

“I realized how necessary it is for any person of color to show up today. It is incredible what has happened here, but I realized very few hours ago that I needed to be here. I’m like one of two Afros in the moment. Like we’re out here, we are foundational. We need to see each other. There are people here from middle America who may not see me. They are seeing me today because they are here to fight for something, and we all understand that we’re here to fight for something, and this is how peacefully we can do it. ... So I'm here because a lot of my friends couldn’t be and because my mama couldn’t be and because I am. Why not? I can breathe, I got feet, you know? I can walk. I can stand here.”

Nathan Raeven Balk King

“I like what this march represents. [Trump] said a lot of really sexist and ridiculous things. … For someone as unqualified and ridiculous as him to be allowed to have that position of power, especially with all the things he’s said against women and women’s rights... I think being here is good because I want to support the women in this country. It’s just stupid that he’s president.”

Oona Montandon, Catherine Crawford, and Daphne Montandon

Catherine: “My daughters. Just the idea that I wanted them here for this moment. I wanted them to be able to look back on history and realize that they were here to protest what was going on.”

Daphne: “And I wanted to come here because I wanted to be part of history and to know that I’m making a difference.”

Oona: “I think the thought that something so crazy, like Trump being elected could happen, and I wouldn’t do anything about it was just too outlandish. I don’t think I could deal with it.”

Maia Woluch

“I live in DC. It’s been really, really, really awful for the past eight weeks. … We’ve been doing a lot of small things, but this felt like a moment where we could have a solid impact and have a lot of people show up. I’m proud to be here to be with everyone else. As much as I’ve been out in these streets, there are lots of other people who are feeling that same amount of anxiety.”

Rahsaan Miller

“Honestly, I felt obligated to be here. I didn’t plan on doing it. We make up a lot of excuses in our heads as to why we can’t be there, or we have something else to do, or we’re busy. But as soon as I woke up, I knew I was in the wrong place, and I had to get a plane ticket and get here.”

Ayesha Cherif, Timeah Cadell, Lily Diaz, and Maddison McKnight

A group of protesters at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

A group of protesters at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

Ayesha: “Personally, I think that women’s rights are just a fundamental right. I think ’cause we’re young, people can underestimate that, since we don’t have the power to vote, that we don’t care about our future, but we really do. We care about the rights of not just women but black rights, disabled, Muslim rights. Especially after who just became our president, I feel like that’s important, for people to know that these rights do matter.”

Timeah: “I came here today because, simply for the fact that I’m tired that we even have to march still. After so many years of having to fight for things that are human rights, I’m tired of having to prove to the world that our lives do matter, that we bring something to the table. We always have. I’m here today to prove that. I shouldn’t have to, but I’m here to meet some wonderful people and unify with other great women and other people of color, trans women all over.”

Lily Diaz: “Having my voice heard is very important. In these times, people usually oppress the minorities, and it’s just important to have your voice heard.”

Maddison McKnight: “I’m kind of a headstrong, opinionated person. That’s the way my parents raised me to be, specifically my mom. I was kind of told no matter what to come here and represent my family and what we stand for, because I come from a background of strong women, and they don’t take — excuse my language — shit from anybody. I just wanted to let that be known, and it feels good just letting people know that you’re not isolated. It’s not an isolated event. It’s not just women by themselves doing this. It’s a group of people, and it’s a community, and it’s a movement, and it’s going to happen, regardless of whether Trump or the people who support him want it or not.”

Mobashra Tazamal

“Me being a Muslim woman, an immigrant, I came out here to have my voice be heard. I went to the inauguration yesterday to protest it as well, and I got harassed on the Metro on the way home. I wanted to come out here just to voice how angry I was at what’s going on with this country, and show that I’m an American citizen and I have rights, and my rights are being infringed upon, as well as black people’s rights, people of color, LGBTQ — we’re all being attacked. This is a way to show solidarity. This is a way to show support.”


“I wanted to support women, humans, and anyone who couldn’t come, I wanted to come out for them.”

Chelsea Cater

“Basically what felt like an urgent need to respond to how the election went and finding solidarity in a very unifying way. Mobilizing obviously against Trump but more specifically against the larger system of violence that primarily targets women but [also] a series of other minorities around the country.”

Phoebe Letsebe

“I think [the message] that resonates most closely with us is that migration is a human right. Personally, her dad is South African, and we’ve always believed that human beings should live where they want.”

Safra Mair

“My twin sister and I decided we that were definitely going to come down from New York. There is a march going on in New York, but we said, ‘You know what, let’s go down to DC and really support the official movement.’ … This Trump thing, it really took a toll on me, but I know we will triumph over anything. That’s what I do know.”

Yael Malka is a photographer living in Brooklyn.