Marchers Say They’re Going to Stay Active in Politics

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Some will run for office. Some will register new voters. Some will badger their representatives. Some will speak up where they had previously been silent.

But almost every one of the dozens of demonstrators TIME interviewed at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. Saturday agreed on one thing: even if the Women’s March was their first action to resist Trump’s presidency, it would not be their last.

Millions of women gathered in the nation’s capital and in hundreds of cities around the world to march in opposition to what they see as the Trump Administration’s prejudiced views on women and minorities. The massive demonstration dwarfed the relatively light turnout for Trump’s own inauguration, which was smaller than both of Obama’s inaugurations, according to aerial photographs as well as subway rider totals collected by the D.C. transit system.

The Metro recorded 193,000 trips as of 11 a.m. on Trump’s inauguration day, but 275,000 by the same time on Saturday, and nearly 600,000 trips by 4 p.m., toward the end of the march. To many women, the crowd alone was a statement.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said Rochelle Grate, a 54-year old from Maryland who works in IT. “And when I got off the train, I was like, ‘Wow they mean business’”

Read More: How the Women’s March Has United Progressives

Protesters wore thousands of pink-knit caps, known as “pussy hats,” many of which were hand-crocheted by other demonstrators. They held signs with slogans like “We Shall Overcomb” (a reference to the President’s unusual hairstyle) and sang lyrics from the popular Broadway show Hamilton. Some wore Wonder Woman costumes and suffragette-style sashes, some held Lady Liberty-style torches. They passed around water bottles, complimented each others’ posters and shared granola bars with strangers’ grumpy kids.

And, newly energized by the wave of pink-hatted protesters who flooded Washington on the first day of Trump’s presidency, they all had plans for what they would do next.

For Gari Ann Dunn from Cincinnati, the election was a wake-up call. “I hate that it took something like this to get me activated,” she said. “I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking, ‘Hmm, maybe I could run for political office.’” She said she plans to look into local leadership positions when she gets home from the march.

Some are vowing to round up every vote they can for local elections in the next two years. Adrianne James, a 45-year old I.T. technician in D.C., said she’s newly energized to work within her community to make sure everyone is as civically engaged as they possibly can be. “We aren’t just going to tweet about it,” she said. “We need to vote, we need to get people to the polls, we need to get ready for 2018.”

One group of Maryland retirees vowed that they would make life miserable for their Congressman, Republican Rep. Andy Harris. “We’re gonna call him, protest his office,” said Francine DeSanctis, 70. “Grassroots, that’s a good thing.” Other groups like hers are sprouting up around the country to use Tea Party-style tactics to challenge Republican lawmakers on the state and local level. The Indivisible Guide, a practical manual for grassroots resistance compiled by former congressional staffers, has been downloaded more than 4 million times since the election.

Watch: Gloria Steinem and Harry Belafonte on the Future of Activism

But other demonstrators say the election is as much of a personal wake-up call as a political one. Even women who actively supported Hillary Clinton say they felt a sense of regret after the election, like they hadn’t done everything they could to sway friends and neighbors who voted for Trump.

Heather Wagner, a Texan Democrat, said she fears her silence in the face of Trump support may have contributed to the spread of ideas she thinks are poisonous. “I feel responsible for Trump’s election because I didn’t speak out,” she said. In particular, she’s thinking of one friend’s husband, a Trump supporter whose views she never challenged. “I’ve sat across the dinner table from him hundreds of times and watched him spew hate,” she said. “That ends here.”

“Every step I take is in honor of every time I should have spoken up,” she adds. “I didn’t know how much I needed to until now.”

White liberals in conservative states were particularly anxious to start having tough conversations they had previously avoided. For Betty Bryant, an 83-year old grandmother, the Women’s March on Washington is the first political demonstration she’s attended since she went to see Martin Luther King speak in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1964. In the years since, she said, she’s often held her tongue when friends at her Kentucky church voice opposing views on issues she considers to be morally important. “I’ve just stayed quiet,” she said. “I’m not doing that anymore.”

And many of the protesters brought their children, some young enough to be breast-fed at the march, with the goal of instilling a sense of activism among the younger generation.

Diana Wild and her best friend Margo Kelly stood on the outskirts of the rally, teaching Margo’s 14-year old daughter Beatrice how to crochet pink “pussy hats.” Wild had already crocheted about six of them, and Beatrice’s first hat was almost halfway done. “It’s a matter of remaining plugged in and acting on that terror,” Kelly said. “Getting off the couch. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that this is a call to action.”

Beatrice is only in 9th grade, but she said already felt the stakes of this election. “It’s opened my eyes to the fact that we have to do something about it,” she said. Whatever she chooses for her career, she said, will be in direct opposition to everything Trump stands for. “Whatever I want to do, I don’t want it to be something that supports this kind of thinking.”

But even for the older generation, change has come. Once she decided to show up to the the march, Bryant got a surprising message from her son, the father of two daughters. “My son emailed me, ‘I’m proud of you,'” she said. “It’s the first time he’s ever said that to me.”

Portraits of Dissent: Stories From the Women’s March on Washington

Cheyenne, 17, Calvert County, Md. With the type of president that we now have elected, I feel like a lot of rights that we have are in danger. And along with the vice-president that he has, who is someone that supports electroshocking people like me to turn us into people that we aren’t, it’s terrifying. So that’s why I think we’re out here, it’s because we’re scared and this is the only thing we can think of to at least try do to help make things better. It’s always a slow march for change, but we’ll get there. Jody Rogac for TIME
Lib Jamison, 62, Portland, Me. I was here 35 or 38 years ago. It was a march for women’s lives, a pro-choice march and my mother went with us. She was the same age then, that I am now, 62. I’ve been doing this my whole adult life. Jody Rogac for TIME
Janice Posnikoff, Washington DC area I’m here representing the territory of my mother, Lillian Posnikoff from Alert Bay Canada and her ancestors, the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw people. Can’t you feel what we’re getting out of this march? It’s unity, it’s solidarity, it’s everything that we all wanted. It’s sending the clear message that absolutely, absolutely he’s not the popular president and we’re going to fight every inch of the way, every time it looks like corruption is happening or injustice is happening, and all of it.Jody Rogac for TIME
Lisa Beattie Frelinghuysen, 50, New York City I brought my family ( youngest daughter pictured ) down here for the march because I believe in equal rights, and I’m a board member of Planned Parenthood and I stand with Planned Parenthood. Jody Rogac for TIME
Darshan, age 68, Virginia I’m here because I’m a Sikh, and I want to make sure there’s respect for all religions. And also I have a daughter and a daughter-in-law and granddaughter and I want to make sure that the rights that we fought for get represented for generations to come. I think the march will bring people’s awareness to how much women matter. Jody Rogac for TIME
Alfredo Augustine Weeks VI, 31, Washington, DC I’m here to support feminism. Honestly I never knew how true it was till I had a daughter. I’m only hoping for a brighter future for her.a brighter future for my wife. And hopefully my daughter can keep paying it forward. Jody Rogac for TIME
These members of the Democracy Defense League came from Flint, Mich. to make sure that city's water crisis isn't forgotten. "We are women and we're standing up for our rights to clean water," says Carrie Younger-Nelson (third from the left). Jody Rogac for TIME
Meaghan Delmonico, Millburn, N.J. I have a 6-year-old son and I’m a widow... It’s extremely important to me to show him what it means to be man in this type of an environment. I want him to believe in love over fear. And I want him to know that his mom is a strong woman who stand up for what we believe in and for what’s right. Jody Rogac for TIME
I’m Orly’s mom. (Six-year-old Orly is pictured here.) We’re from Chicago, but I grew up in Mexico City so this is also very close to me. We’re here for many reasons. I’m here because of my kids, I want them to be here and to remember this. Jody Rogac for TIME
Diane Lawson, Springfield, Va. I’m with my daughter Ryan. Ryan is trans so we are fighting for all kinds of rights. We’re seeing everything slip away lately. And it’s time to do something about it. Hopefully Mr Trump will understand that he really is supposed to represent us and take care of us. We do want to make it known that we’re not ok with what he’s doing and saying. Jody Rogac for TIME
Jamie Faucet, 74 and Kathy Faucet, 67, Raleigh, N.C. This is personal for us. Our son has cystic fibrosis and our grandson has McCune-Albright Syndrome with Fibrous Dysplasia which means there are tumors in every bone in his body. He’s four and he’s has had 30 fractures already. It’s so rare that there’s very little research. We lost funding [for research], but got it back during the Obama years. Now we’re petrified it’s going to be cut again. Our son didn’t want to go on disability. He wanted to show the world he could work, but he was denied insurance. Jody Rogac for TIME
Katie, Philadelphia, with her daughter I’m here because my daughter is a beautiful powerful girl who will grow up to be a powerful woman some day and I want the world to be ready for her when she comes. I’m here because we also believe in Black Lives Matter, and because i’m a mom and daughter and sister of people with disabilities. I want all those things to be represented and I want the people to hear that all those things matter to a lot of people.. Protest marches don’t necessarily create a concrete result immediately but it sends the message that there’s a lot of people out there who really care about some of the issues that are not on the agenda for the current administration...We’re out there and we’re watching and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they do. Jody Rogac for TIME
Aidan, 16 and his brother Liam, 12, North Plainfield, N.J. We’re here to support all women, especially our families. Everyone should have equal opportunity in this world. Jody Rogac for TIME
Dana Mosa-Basha, 22, Michigan The crisis [in Syria] is so prevalent right now with the refugees coming in, that’s why we’re here right now, to be a voice for the people who don’t have this safe haven, and these opportunities that we were given. Especially being Muslim, covered, and Syrian, I want to represent the people who have their identities stripped of them. I just graduated from the University of Michigan. Jody Rogac for TIME
Cindy Otis, 33 I’m here for a lot of reasons, I’m here mostly to express my great frustration with the state of our political system, our frustration that people aren’t really talking and listening to each other. There’s so much hate and anger focused on predominantly minority communities. Immigrants, LGBT, people of color, people with disabilities. I'm still in shock that someone who was elected to the highest office in our land based on that platform, and I just felt like it was important to get out here and show that I’ve my brothers and sisters from every community and I will not accept intolerance and bigotry, racism. I think we have a long fight ahead.Jody Rogac for TIME
Shemeal, Arlingon, Va. I’m happily married. And I have a mother and sister, and we came to protest any kind of discrimination or inequality that we actually see. And just want to stand here and peacefully protest in solidarity with everyone who’s here. We’re originally hailing from Trinidad, their mother is Russian, and we live in Arlington and we love our city.Jody Rogac for TIME
I’m from Ithaca, Ny., I’m retired. I ran a natural food store and worked in a lumber company until I retired. This whole situation politically. It’s pretty horrible. So this is… what else could I do? It seemed like I had no choice but to come. Jody Rogac for TIME
Casey Camp-Horinek, an elder of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma I’m a mother a great grandmother and grandmother, sister and aunt and daughter. I’m here today for all those reasons I just told you. On behalf of our true mother, the one true mother we’ll share is our mother the earth and she’s under threat right now. We want our lives to continue the way that our ancestors have, we want that for your children as well, and even for his (Trump’s) grandchildren. In Oklahoma we’re suffering from environmental genocide We feel it’s necessary to speak for all of those without voices, those that fly, those that swim, the sacred water itself, the very breath that the creator gave us, on behalf of our mother the earth those that have roots and sway in the wind, all of those things are begging for all of humankind to pray for them and nurture them as well. Jody Rogac for TIME
Stella Davis 21, Lexington, Ky. We drove 8 hours to get here. We didn’t want to miss this we wanted to be a part of history, and it’s our duty to be here and represent women and equality. Someone saying it’s been a long time coming but a change is going to come. Jody Rogac for TIME
Benjamin Barnes, 20, Lexington Ky. It’s the first movement I’ve been a part of personally and I couldn’t sit home cause I’m gay myself and I’m an activist and I saw this opportunity to make a difference, to do something about it So I got my girls together and we came. Jody Rogac for TIME
Hundreds of thousands of protesters attended the Women's March on Washington.Jody Rogac for TIME

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