— -- Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump takes the oath of office in Washington, D.C., to become the 45th president of the United States, hundreds of thousands of people from across the country will descend upon the nation’s capital to participate in the Women’s March.
The march -- which will begin with a rally featuring speakers and musical acts -- is based on a mission that the rhetoric of the 2016 election cycle “insulted, demonized, and threatened” Americans, leaving communities “hurting and scared.”
Organizers say one of the goals of the march is to tell the new administration that on Day 1, “women's rights are human rights.” Despite the name of the event, leaders have made clear that all are welcome to join, not just women.
Organizing the event began shortly after Election Day with a Facebook post by Hawaiian grandmother Teresa Shook, who asked friends about marching together as women on the inauguration. Her question soon escalated to a Facebook event, which received hundreds of thousands of RSVPs. But the Women’s March on Saturday isn’t limited to D.C. -- “sister marches” and rallies are planned in locations as distant as Nairobi, Kenya, and Osaka, Japan, as well as in most major U.S. cities.
The march is billed by organizers as a nonpartisan opportunity for people to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families -- recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
With the event happening on the new president’s first full day in the White House, critics contend the march is a protest against Trump’s presidency, particularly as organizations that opposed the president-elect’s campaign joined as partners. The ACLU, Amnesty International, Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood, GLAAD and the Muslim Women’s Alliance all signed on as the event grew in size.
Before the march begins, a three-hour rally will be held on the National Mall with musical headliners Janelle Monae, Questlove, and Grimes, along with celebrity speakers that include America Ferrera, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Ashley Judd, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Michael Moore. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards is one of the keynote speakers at the event as well.
Singer Beyonce has not been confirmed at the event but did post a message to her Facebook page Wednesday writing, “Together with Chime for Change, we raise our voices as mothers, as artists, and as activists. As #GlobalCitizens, we can make our voices heard and turn awareness into meaningful action and positive change. #WomensMarch.”
Her sister, Solange, will be in Washington for the Peace Ball -- an alternative event happening at the same time as the Trump inauguration balls.
The Washington, D.C., Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency estimates as many as 400,000 people could attend the march, with over 1.3 million registering on the Women’s March website to join around the world.
The rally in Washington kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, starting at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street Southwest in Washington, D.C., just blocks from the Capitol.