Chicago Women’s March Organizers: ‘This Isn’t Just A One Time Thing’ | WBEZ
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Morning Shift

Chicago Women’s March Organizers: ‘This Isn’t Just A One Time Thing’

Thousands of women are expected to flood Washington D.C. Saturday -- the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration -- as a part of the Women’s March on Washington.

And it’s not just Washington, more than 600 sister marches are planned across the country, including one in Chicago. Local organizers said more than 50,000 participants are expected to rally in Grant Park and march down Columbus Avenue Saturday morning.

Morning Shift’s Tony Sarabia spoke with Ann Scholhamer, co-organizer of the Chicago event, and the march’s emcee, Fawzia Mirza, about their motivations. Here are some highlights from the conversation.

On whether the movement is an anti-Trump

Ann Scholhamer: Our platform is one of “come and speak out about what’s important to you.” And for some people it will be speaking out against that administration in particular. But for a lot of people it’s really about very specific things and about how they want to protect those rights.

On what motivated them to organize the Chicago march

Scholhamer: It was really the rhetoric of the election. It just became such an assault on human rights, and there’s been such a promise to take away human rights. For me, it’s about the next generation, my children’s friends.

It’s just overwhelming. I could say I’m more politicized, but really it’s just that I’m more aware, coming into contact with more and more people and their fears across the board.

Fawzia Mirza: I openly identify as Pakistani, Muslim, queer, woman, Chicagoan, American, human, activist. For me, this march is about connecting and protecting and activating and really bringing communities together, that’s what I do just being a personal daily.

On the importance of intersectionality

Mirza: The groups that you’re a part of — whether it’s women’s groups or the LGBTQ community — there’s often divisions within that. And I feel like a lot of the people I’m talking to are seeing this as the opportunity for us all to come together. Whether this is just the beginning, for us — almost like a portal — this isn’t just a one-time thing. It’s a way for us to say, “Okay, we did this, we rallied, we can come together. What can we do next? How can we then be heard even louder and collectively?”

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the 'play' button to listen to the entire interview.

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