At least eight busloads and 500 people will head from Ithaca to the Million Women March on Washington, D.C., in January to peacefully protest the inauguration of Donald Trump, and another event is planned for Ithaca City Hall the same day.
“When I first saw the announcement for the national event, I thought it would be fun to go with some friends,” Ithaca-area D.C. march organizer Laura Whiting Dolch told me. “And then I thought it would be fun to take a bus down.”
“I’ve learned from this election cycle, you can’t wait for other people to do things,” Laura added. “You’ve got to step up and get involved. It’s the only way to make change. From helping Erin and Shawna coordinate our Ithaca group for this trip, I’ve seen what an amazing community we have — all ready for change.”
Organizer Erin Kerr says it was all about solidarity. “For me, I was joining a bunch of friends to go down — it’s so much more satisfying to gather in community for both greiving as well as action. Then it kind of got out of hand!” Seats on one bus, then two, then five, and finally eight, filled up in a matter of days.
Even though march organizers have been told they won’t be able to start at the Lincoln Memorial and the Mall, sites of countless demonstrations and protests, there’s a backup plan. The group now plans to start at Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, in front of the Capitol, according to the Washington Post.
A fundraising lunch this Tuesday at Moosewood Restaurant will help provide the marchers heading to D.C. with “water bottles, Metro cards, and warm purple hats so they can find each other in the massive crowd.” The restaurant in the Dewitt Mall says they’ll be serving lunch from 11:30am-2:30pm on Tuesday, December 13, with $3 cups of soup, $8.50 daily specials, and $12 entrees, and a portion of the meal’s income will be donated to the Ithaca march group.
“We have been able to offer 40 scholarships that donors have sponsored” to cover trip costs for local residents who couldn’t afford it on their own, says D.C. trip organizer and local mom Shawna Black. “GreenStar has reached out to us with a very generous donation,” she adds. “We would love more donations to help make this trip happen.”
The group heading to Washington has also set up an Amazon Wishlist with such items as handwarmers, snacks, pocket tissue packs, and other suitable supplies, and a Gofundme page for monetary donations.
Organizers of the “Women’s March on Ithaca” say they have a permit lined up for public assembly for those staying in town, and they will be meeting at City Hall on East Green Street at 10am on inauguration day, Saturday, January 21, and then marching through the city. “It is for anyone who wants to attend the Women’s March on Washington, but cannot make it there for some reason,” said organizer Amanda K. Champion.
Bus trip organizers say all the seats are taken, and a waitlist for people hoping a seat will free up is now closed. There’s an online form for anyone offering or seeking a ride in a carpool.
“Our buses will be filled with energy, resolve and love,” Erin says. “Women from all different parts of our community, with different roles — including allies — will be joining us in solidarity.”