Donald Trump's swearing in as our nation's 45th president is expected to be met with a flurry of protests across Washington, D.C.
But one event on the calendar for the weekend of January 20 has distinguished itself from the rest: the Women's March on Washington, previously known as the Million Women March.
What started with a private Facebook event created by a woman in Hawaii the day after the election quickly went viral. And now at least 226,000 people say they're "interested" in joining the effort to "send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights."
Organizers say that the Women's March isn't as much anti-Trump as it is for women's rights. Many see that as a crucial message at a time when anti-abortion legislation is rippling through the nation and we're still a long way from achieving a comprehensive family paid leave initiative.
"We’re excited to be together in solidarity and to send a strong message to our country that we are united as women," Carmen Perez, one of three national co-chairs of the event, told Refinery29.
The planning of the march hasn't been without controversy. The organizers were accused of appropriating the name of the Million Woman March, a historical event organized by and for Black women in 1997, and to this day there are some logistical issues to consider. The National Parks Service, for example, is blocking requests to use the National Mall and Lincoln Memorial for protests during inauguration weekend, forcing organizers to rethink their original plan for the site of the demonstration.
But Perez and fellow chairs Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour — three experienced and fierce activists who joined the event two days after it was created — say they're committed to making the march a powerful and inclusive movement that will be felt nationwide.
If you're interested in learning more about the Women's March on Washington — or joining yourself on January 21 — read on. And if you're someone looking to head to the inauguration, we've got you covered in this handy guide.
What’s The Plan?
Participants are set to gather at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 21 — the day after Trump’s inauguration — in an undisclosed location. Then, there will be a march through Washington, D.C.
Initially, the plan was for the protest to head to the National Mall and for the rally to be at the iconic Lincoln Memorial. But that doesn't appear to be in the cards — the demonstration has been barred from that site.
Organizers have since stated on the Facebook page that the rally site has changed to an undetermined location, though they insist that the event is still on. Leaders are working on getting permits for both the rally, which would be managed by the National Park Service, and permission to march through the streets of Washington D.C.
How Do I Get There?
Marchers are responsible for their own costs and travel arrangements. But given the size of the event, there will likely be people coming from (almost) every state. If you head to the event’s Facebook page, you'll find a list of links to state pages that people are using to connect and plan transportations, accommodations, and more. If you have trouble finding your local page, you can reach out to Evvie Harmon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Depending on your state, there may be chartered buses, carpools, or travel groups. In New York City, for example, volunteers are coordinating group busses.
In terms of lodging, the faster you get it arranged, the better. A D.C.-based hotelier told WTOP 10 days after the election that local hotels were already at 65 to 95% occupancy for inauguration weekend. And the sharing economy won’t help you either — average prices for a weekend rental on Airbnb are up more than 200% in the past two weeks, with an average price hitting more than $650 a night. Ouch. May we suggest sharing a room (or bed)?
What Should I Do When I’m There?
First, plan ahead — a long way ahead — for intracity transit. Traffic will be terrible, public transit will be overwhelmed, and the security will be tight. Don’t expect to have an easy time getting into the city if you’re planning on staying outside city limits, either.
You also need to take into account the weather. January is one of the coldest months in D.C., so make sure to dress warmly and comfortably.
Remember to pack water and snacks. There will be a lot of people, and you'll be on your feet for hours. Staying hydrated and well-fed is key to not passing out in the middle of a huge crowd.
If you're planning to bring children with you, a helpful member of the Women's March national Facebook page pointed out the following tips: Include a tag or ID on the kid's pocket with contact information in case you're separated. Also instruct them to go to a police officer or identified volunteer and ask for help if that happens. That way it will be easier for you and the child to be reunited in the sea of people marching.
Crap, I Can’t Make It. But I Care About The Cause. What Now?
Don’t worry! If you’re dedicated to showing your support but can’t finagle the funds to get to D.C., there’ll be local ways to show your support. Many cities and states are holding their own marches and rallies on January 21 for those who can’t make it to Washington.
In San Francisco, about 6,000 people have said they’re planning on attending a regional march; in New York City, about 7,000 people plan to march; and in Seattle, a whooping 17,000 people have shown interest in a local march.
Where Can I Keep Up To Date With All The New Information?
You can follow the Women's March on Washington on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also visit the official website here and register for the event here.