Last month, millions of women marched in rallies across all 50 states in what will go down as one of the largest protests in history. Pink hats and protest signs were touted the whole day in an act of defiance against the Trump presidency.
Despite the record turnout and unity observed in these women’s marches, there is still a question that needs to be answered. What happens next?
Many people may view the singular act of protest as the only thing they need to do in order to enact change. But the true challenges have only just begun. The most prominent challenge facing protesters and activists now is how to channel the energy from a successful march into decisive actions that lead to real political change.
It’s a daunting journey facing millions of people across the nation and around the world, but one that many feel needs to be given appropriate time and effort. After the march in Washington ended, its leaders immediately launched into a networking session and rally titled “Where Do We Go From Here?” in an effort to help participants determine how best to further push the movement forward.
The following day saw more rallies with similar goals in mind. Planned Parenthood and other organizations held a massive training session for some 2,000 attendees on how to turn mobilization into true political action.
For some, the marches were proof enough that the initiative to take action is present in America. The organizers of the Women’s March on Washington originally sought a permit for around 200,000 people, but were met with more than 500,000 when the day of the march arrived.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that high volumes of travelers combined with alcohol-impaired drivers cause two times the rate of auto accidents, but the atmosphere in DC was sober as protesters and activists nearly overwhelmed metro travel from the sheer volume of people in the Capitol.
People marched for a variety of reasons, many of which were written or illustrated on signs that the protesters carried with them.
“I want her to know that she has a voice,” said DC native Mona Osuchukwu of her three-year-old daughter who was with her at the march. Osuchukwu added that the march was especially important to her “as a black woman in America.”
There is still debate on what next steps should be taken, but many organizations are encouraging people to get involved at the local level and affect change from bottom to top.