Sandra Whitmore attended her first protest in 1968. Then 30, she joined others in San Francisco to publicly burn their bras, she said.
The experience was so intoxicating, Whitmore said, that she’s attended dozens of protests in the five decades since. On Saturday, the mother of four, now 80, attended Chicago’s Women’s March. So did all of her kids, joining the thousands expected to attend the event. Her sign read “My arms are getting tired from hold’n this sign since the 1960s.”
“I’ve been doing this for so many years,” said the Northbrook resident. “And though women have seen a lot of progress, it has started to erode. But people are waking up.”
A lot of people; more than a quarter of a million.
Organizers about 11:30 a.m. said the city informed them they’ve exceeded last year’s crowd of 250,000.
“I have just been informed that we are as big as last year,” said organizer Ann Scholhamer, over the cheering crowd and the whir of a helicopter overhead. “And people are still coming.”
Around 1 p.m. they adjusted it to 300,000 people.
For women like Whitmore and others, participation was an intergenerational affair.
“I’m out here for my daughter and myself,” said Vikki Ford, a Chicago native.
She and her daughter Christina, 27, didn’t go to the March last year, but after President Trump’s first year in office, a year they considered politically tumultuous, they planned to participate.
For others, Saturday’s march was an opportunity to express their displeasure with the president’s rhetoric on immigration. Some referenced Trump’s alleged “s–thole countries” comment, a label he purportedly used to describe Haiti, El Salvador, and other nations in Africa early this month.