When Emily Cooper Morse learned that many of her friends would like to join the upcoming Women’s March on Washington, but couldn’t, she decided that some type of demonstration needed to be held closer to home.
Though she has no experience as a political activist, she enlisted the help of a few friends to organize a women’s march in Philadelphia.
Like the organizers of the march in Washington, Cooper Morse turned to social media to rally opponents of President-elect Donald Trump.
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“We are fighting for equality in womanhood,” said Cooper Morse. “[Trump] is obligated to hear our voices and concerns. Philly is a good alternative if marchers don’t feel comfortable with going to D.C. We’re happy wherever people end up — we just want them to get out and march.”
The Women’s March on Washington formed as an anti-Trump event less than 24 hours after Election Day thanks largely to social media. As of Thursday evening, nearly 170,000 people said on Facebook that they plan to attend the protest during the inauguration.
Sister marches have formed from coast to coast.
Cooper Morse and her fellow organizers formed their own non-profit organization, Philly Women Rally, to help them coordinate the march. Cooper Morse’s friend, Beth Finn, proved to be a valuable resource. Finn is the co-chair for the annual Race for Hope Philadelphia. Although she and Morse have become familiar with the process of applying for city permits and arranging vital resources such as public toilets, Finn stresses that they ae acting as concerned citizens -- not full-time political activists.
“None of us do this professionally,” said Finn. “But whether we have 100 people or 30,000 people, it’s important to have a venue for people to come together and raise their voices. I think a lot of people feel attacked by some of the language used and feel threatened more than they have in the past.”
Prospective marchers are encouraged to register on the event’s website to give organizers a more accurate estimate of how many people will be attending. According to the Facebook event for the march, nearly 7,000 people are planning to attend.
The Philly march is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on Jan. 21, the day after Donald Trump takes the oath of office. Demonstrators will gather on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway near the Art Museum.
The march has attracted the attention of parents who plan to bring their children. One parent, Christine Larash, said that she plans to attend with her young son because she and her husband want to show him a world outside of Trump and his distasteful antics.
“The bottom line is that we share this world,” said Larash. “I think that too many people don’t see outside their own family or neighborhood. You can’t pretend that you can insulate yourself from other people.”
Larash said that her birthday happens to be on Jan. 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration.
“It feels like a birthday present to myself if I can show my son what we really believe in,” she said.