Just days after the presidential election, Emily Morse was itching to do something — anything — to send President-elect Donald Trump a message.
She admittedly scoured the internet searching for like-minded people when she came across the Women’s March on Washington, a massive event planned to take place in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration ceremonies. Since then, the march has reached mega status, and some 200,000 people including lawmakers, celebrities and iconic activists are expected to participate.
So Morse, who works in supply chain and lives in King of Prussia, almost immediately reached out to the Washington organizers to see how she could help start a version here for people who couldn’t make it to D.C. and she created a “Women’s March on Philadelphia” Facebook event for a Philly version. The response has been overwhelming.
Nearly 6,000 people have RSVP’d on Facebook, with another 18,000 marked “interested.” Morse brought on other admins to help her organize the event, secure permits and hammer out the logistical details in conjunction with the city. They expect 10,000 people to take part in the Philly version.
Morse is certain that Philly’s event was one of the first — if not the first — sister event to be formally organized. Now, there will be sister marches in more than 150 cities across the world, from Los Angeles to Chicago to London to Copenhagen. In every city, they’re marching for equal pay, reproductive rights, paid maternity and paternity leave and other women’s rights issues.
And while the response in Philadelphia has been huge, Morse said she isn’t surprised at all.
“I think that this election was a real eye-opener for a lot of people,” she said. “So I’m sad that this is what it took. But I’m thrilled that it’s made enough of a difference.”
Organizers of both the marches in D.C. and Philly have emphasized that it’s not an anti-Trump march — they don’t reject his legitimacy as the winner of the election. Instead, they’re aiming to bring attention to women’s rights issues on a large scale.
“We’re sending the message that we’re not debating your validity as president,” she said, “but you have the responsibility to listen to our voices and our concerns.”
The organizers, who formed a nonprofit called Philly Women Rally to host the event, are now focused on fundraising, securing volunteers and organizing the logistical details ranging from insurance to routes to the number of portable toilets needed along the march to seating for disabled participants. They’re working with the city’s Office of Special Events, along with police, homeland security and SEPTA to ensure things run smoothly.
Morse said the costs are significant: Thousands of dollars are needed to cover insurance costs for the event and to pay the city for sanitation services required when bringing thousands of people into one place. Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can find information on how to do so at the march’s website here.
The event’s scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Jan. 21 at Logan Square. Participants will then march to Eakins Oval for a rally at noon that’s expected to last until about 3 p.m.
Morse said the Philly Women Rally nonprofit will continue after the Jan. 21 march is over. Organizers are planning a meet-and-greet to take place a few weeks after the march.