A day after the pomp and circumstance of President Trump’s inauguration, millions of women will descend on Washington, D.C., for what could be the largest ever protest in response to a presidential inauguration. WGBH’s Marilyn Schairer interviewed Tammy Gouveia, a lead organizer for the Massachusetts chapter of the Women's March on Washington, and Natasha Chabria, the lead organizer in Boston and a law student at Northeastern University. Below is a lightly edited transcript of their conversation.
I understand up to 9,300 women from Massachusetts are planning to attend the march in D.C. What's the purpose of the march?
Gouveia: The purpose of the march is really to come together in solidarity and have our voices heard — that women's rights are human rights, and that we want to continue to build on the progress that we've made in this country over the last hundred years in terms of women's rights and rights across all spectrums for social justice and equity for all.
So what exactly have you been doing to get more women involved?
Chabria: As the Boston lead organizer, I've been reaching out to colleges and universities to really get students involved, and we've kind of been reaching across generationally and across diverse communities to really get all women and all allies involved in this.
Natasha, what have some of the younger women been saying to you?
Chabria: That's actually been something that's been really exciting after this election cycle. A lot of people were down. But what I noticed was that young people were really starting to arise from the woodwork. So people were coming out and saying, you know, I've been thinking about these issues for a while. These are really important to me. How do I help? How do I get involved in making change that will not only impact me but future generations? So that's been really, really exciting.
Are men taking part in the marches?
Gouveia: Absolutely. Men and women, and people who identify as gender non-conforming or non-binary. We have a lot of folks who are transgender, lesbian, gay, and bisexual folks. People from all different religious backgrounds are marching — both in Washington, D.C., and also there are three hundred sister marches happening across the globe. So it's a very broad, diverse spectrum of folks. This is really intergenerational. We have been hearing from so many people that they are marching with their grandparents or with their grandchildren or their nieces and that kind of thing. So it's really an opportunity for the younger generation to learn from what previous generations have really been fighting for in terms of human rights. And it's an opportunity for those who have been fighting for so long to feel like the fight is continuing and that people are picking up that torch and saying, "Yep, there's still a lot more for us to do in terms of social justice in this country."
Now there is some concern that this might be misconstrued as an anti-Trump march. How would you respond to that if someone said, "You're raining on his parade. It's his time. He's now the president."?
Gouveia: We've heard that from a lot of folks. This is not an anti-Trump rally. This is a pro-human rights and a pro women's rights march. And what we say to folks is that we are marching on this first day because we are at a very pivotal point in our society, in our country — installing a new president. We really do want the incoming administration to hear our voices, that we want to achieve social equity for everybody.
You said there were 300 marches around the country. I know here in Massachusetts there are several planned as well. Boston has one. There's one out in Pittsfield, in Falmouth. What can people expect? Will there be speeches? Will you actually be marching? And will they be peaceful? I mean, some people have concerns about that. Natasha?
Chabria: I haven't gotten too much of a chance to interact with the leaders of those different movements. But from what I have heard and what I've learned, it seems like they're really going after the same goals that we are. This is supposed to be a peaceful, nonviolent protest to sort of echo the fact that these are human rights that we're all fighting for.
Is this a movement that will remain active in Massachusetts, and around the country for that matter, throughout the presidency of Donald Trump?
Gouveia: Absolutely. I think even beyond whatever the next two to four years really look like, we are hearing from a lot of people who are forming their own different groups to sit down and figure out how do they want to impact policy and impact human rights at the local level. And we're hearing from a lot of people from all across the state that they really do want to continue this effort moving forward. The march is just a punctuation or a beginning point for that movement.