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EDITORIAL: Make your voice heard

York Dispatch
  • The Women's March on Saturday will bring out those who worry about human rights.
  • Some will march in D.C., some closer to home - or around the world.
  • Now is the time to make your voice heard.

They're not all going to D.C., but they're going.

Mothers and daughters, wives, singletons, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, sisters, friends.

The Women's March on Washington Saturday will bring out a wide variety of people to march in support of the statement that women's rights are human rights.

Organizers estimated 200,000 people will be in D.C. for the march when they got the permit, but officials in the district think the number will be much higher than that. About 1,800 buses have registered to park in the district on Saturday, meaning 100,000 people are coming in by bus alone. Add to that the fact that Amtrak trains to the area are completely booked for the day, and a much larger crowd is expected.

The U.S. Capitol looms over a stage during a rehearsal of President-elect Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Washington. The day after the inauguration, the area will see the Women's March on Washington.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

In contrast, on Friday, Inauguration Day for President-elect Donald Trump, there are 400 buses registered to park in the district, officials said. Around 800,000 people are expected to attend the inauguration.

But Washington isn't the only place people will be going to protest.

There are 616 Sister Marches planned around the world, with an estimate that more than 1 million people will be on the streets in Boston, Philadelphia, Topeka, Kansas, Tucson, Arizona, Mount Shasta, California, Kodiak, Alaska, Chicago, Miami, Honolulu. They'll also march in Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Paris, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Erbil, Iraq, Nairobi, Kenya, Oslo, Norway, Sydney, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Cape Town, South Africa, and York, England.

Many people who go will be regular activists who have been to many protests and marches before,

"My main purpose is making sure that all people have equal rights, and women haven’t had equal rights for a long time," said Alana Haag, 68, a member of the Federation of Democratic Women in York County who is going to the march with others from the group.

But it is also drawing those who see problems in the upcoming Trump administration that are deeper and more troubling than any they have seen before, and so they are taking to the streets even though they are not part of a regularly political group.

"I’m not a Trump supporter, and it’s so concerning to me that the country was able to overlook the blatant misogyny and his history of mistreating women," said Jennifer Weitkamp, a 33-year-old social worker who lives in Spring Garden Township and plans to attend the march with three friends.

Weitkamp said her newborn daughter is an inspiration for her to march to protect women's rights, especially with the Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood.

"It would be hard for me to look my daughter in the eye and say, 'We knew this could happen, and we did nothing,'" Weitkamp said.

Yorkers heading to D.C. for Women's March

Many women — and men — have doubts about the upcoming administration. We're worried about the possibility that women's rights, gay rights, civil rights will be rolled back, that health care will be taken away from those who need it the most, that Washington will become a place where the only voices are those of rich, white men.

That's why it's so important to so many people that they are traveling to Washington or taking to the streets in a city closer to home to speak out and say, we are the people, and we matter.

In Washington, the march begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Independence Avenue and Third Street, near the U.S. Capitol.

For Yorkers who don't want to travel to D.C., there are other marches close by. In Lancaster, the Sister March starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Penn Square. In Baltimore, it's at noon at 33rd Street and Charles Street, in front of Johns Hopkins.

It's time to speak out for your rights and those of others. This is the time to make your voice heard.