CHICAGO — Hundreds of thousands of people joined a women’s march in downtown Chicago on Saturday, protesting President Donald Trump and his policies and pledging to make their voices heard in this year’s elections.
“The message I want to send today is there’s power in numbers,” said Melanie Moore, 30, of Chicago. “There’s power in women fighting for everyone that didn’t think they had a voice, and when we do come together it’s a truly beautiful sort of thing.”
The Chicago event was among hundreds held across the U.S. as Trump marked the end of his first year in office. Organizers estimated more people turned out than the 250,000 who attended the 2017 event in Chicago the day after Trump’s inauguration. City officials didn’t provide a crowd estimate.
Organizers called this year’s gatherings a “march to the polls,” part of a national effort to mobilize women ahead of the 2018 elections. Events were planned in other Illinois communities, including East Peoria, Rockford and the Quad Cities.
Beth Valente of Chicago, who teaches immigrants, said her students have been “vilified” by Trump and “their president should not make them feel unsafe.” Nadja Millare said she’s fighting for reproductive rights that are being “chipped away” by Trump and the GOP.
Joelle Pyle carried a sign that read “Make America Kind Again.” She said if people aren’t angry about what’s happening “you aren’t paying attention.”
Pyle said she was encouraged by Saturday’s turnout, as well as by results in recent elections, such as the U.S. Senate race in Alabama where a Democrat defeated a Trump-backed candidate.
“I think the tide is turning and people are going to fix this,” she said.
Trump took to twitter on Saturday, saying it was the perfect day for women to “celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months.”