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

3 minute read

After months of agitating in the social media thunderdome about the election, the crowd at Saturday’s massive Women’s March on Washington was joyful, ebullient even. There seemed to be universal relief at getting beyond the virtual streets and onto the real ones, to sing, to chant and to commiserate. The sheer size of the crowds gathered around the globe, hundreds of thousands in Washington alone, fueled hope and a kind of giddiness among weary progressives and others fearful of what a Trump administration might mean for their families.

But underneath the singing, the chants, the witty signs and all those pink “pussy hats,” the reasons marchers came to the Capitol were deadly serious. It was more than women’s rights issues like contraception or abortion, or even the fury over campaign rhetoric many women saw as rife with misogyny and shockingly callous attitudes toward sexual assault.

There were women who rode busses for 10 hours from Flint, Mich., to remind everyone that they still don’t have safe water in that city.

There were families that went through the extraordinary effort of bringing a special needs child in a wheelchair to a massive all-day protest that exhausted even the fittest marchers, mainly because they were afraid of losing their health insurance.

There were LGBTQ kids who entered college or high school at a time when the White House was lit up in rainbow colors only to worry that instead of moving forward, they may have to fight just to maintain the status quo.

And there were Muslim-Americans who were in tears describing how they now feel like “other” in the country of their birth.

Moms born in Mexico City were there to show their American-born kids how to speak up for immigrants and for women’s rights at the same time. And there were lots of fathers and husbands who came for their daughters and wives, or brought their young sons to a sea of women as a bit of an education.

When the march was conceived via Facebook, just a few months ago, it seemed that assembling so many causes into one effort would dilute the message and the energy of the movement. And it still remains to be seen whether the global protests that marked Donald Trump’s inaugural weekend can evolve into an effective political effort for all these different needs. But many marchers insisted that this day was just the start of their efforts. These images from the Washington, DC march by portrait photographer Jody Rogac reflect their determination.

Jody Rogac is a portrait photographer based in New York City.

Natalie Matutschovsky, who edited this photo essay, is a senior photo editor at TIME.

Susanna Schrobsdorff is a columnist and chief strategic partnerships editor at TIME.

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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