New York City Prepares For Women's March

Jan 20, 2018
Originally published on January 21, 2018 8:02 am
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This weekend marks the first anniversary of the Women's March. Last year's demonstrations drew enormous crowds to the nation's capitol and other cities around the world. Today one of the places that protesters are gathering is New York City. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang joins us now from just outside Central Park.

Good morning, Hansi.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: What are you seeing?

WANG: Well, I'm here right by the site where the rally is going to start in a few hours. There's tents up. They were checking the sound system a little bit earlier. And I'm seeing lots of marchers starting to gather and lots of those pink hats that we saw last year - those pussyhats. Women are wearing them as they gather to get ready to march later today.

SIMON: Yeah. You've been speaking with some of the marchers, haven't you?

WANG: I have been. And a lot of folks that I've talked to today came out last year. They said they for sure wanted to come out again and - essentially to say, no, we do not support what's happening right now with the Trump administration. We're concerned about encroachment on women's rights.

One woman I spoke to, Bridie Bugeja, she's a psychotherapist from Northport, N.Y., on Long Island. She told me she's very concerned about what's going to happen to DACA, the immigration program for young immigrants who were brought here as children and are staying, currently, in the U.S. illegally - what's going to happen to them. And she's also concerned about all the new attention on sexual harassment because of the #MeToo movement, a new focus on that. She brought a sign with her, and here's what she told me.

BRIDIE BUGEJA: I wanted to do something Seussical, as I love Dr. Seuss. I'd read it to my children when they were little. So I wrote, I don't like you in my shirt. I don't like you up my skirt. I don't like you near my rump. Replace Republicans and Donald Trump.

SIMON: Well, an homage to Dr. Seuss. What do the the march organizers - what kind of objective do they have today?

WANG: Well, the march organizers have told me that one of their main focuses is taking all this energy of people coming out, showing up to these marches and really channeling them to the polls this November. They're focusing on the midterm elections coming up, and they want to make sure that for the congressional races, for local races, that women and other marchers really think about getting registered to vote, encouraging other people to register to vote and to really channel their energy into ballots.

And they're hoping - well, they're sending out volunteers today - in addition to marching - here in New York City to register voters. And they're also encouraging women to think about running for public office.

SIMON: And there are other events planned for this weekend - aren't there? - around the march.

WANG: That's right. Officially, the actual anniversary is tomorrow, January 21. And the main event is in Las Vegas. And our colleague Leila Fadel will be out there covering that. But there are marches here in New York City today. There's a march in Washington, D.C., as well as other cities and towns around the country. And so we'll be seeing and hearing a lot about the Women's March this weekend.

SIMON: NPR's Hansi Lo Wang, thanks so much for being with us, my friend. Thanks for doing...

WANG: You're welcome.

SIMON: ...The job.

WANG: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.