We may never know exactly how many Coloradans traveled to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. More than 10,000 were invited on the Colorado page for the Women’s March on Facebook . Almost 2,300 said they were going and another 3,000 said they were interested. And that doesn’t measure all the others who never saw the Facebook page, who went on their own, with friends and family. But, in all, an estimated 500,000 people from across the country descended on Washington, D.C. in response to the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Coloradans crammed into the Faith Tabernacle Church at 300 A St., a short walk from the march’s starting point at 3rd Street and Independence Avenue at 8 a.m. As the fellowship hall grew cramped and hot, crowds spilled onto the cold, rainy street. A group of three Colorado women sang protest songs. A Colorado high school teacher struggled to keep his eyes on the group of students he was chaperoning. A mother and daughter stood together, talking, giggling and huddling close for warmth. Many told The Colorado Independent they hadn’t demonstrated before. Many said they hadn’t even been to D.C. before. All had one thing in common: they said they had never been so moved to action.
Each came to Washington for reasons their own. Here, five Colorado women explain in their own words why they chose to march in Washington. Their interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity.
While most marchers held colorful signs scrawled with clever slogans, Lori Brazill held a Colorado flag. Around its edges, she had pinned felt hearts painted with the names of individuals who had inspired her to march. Among the names were those of Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, Brazill’s grandsons and her daughter. Brazill, 59, works in a medical office in Loveland, Colorado. She came to to D.C. with two other Colorado women. As she speaks, she becomes overwhelmed with emotion.
I have a disabled sister. A friend of mine who’s Asian-American was at a gas station pumping gas and somebody called her a word that is horrible and racist regarding Asian people. He told her to pack her bags, ‘Trump’s in town!’ So that, and I have two little grandsons, I have a daughter, and I just can’t go for this inequality.
A friend that I work with emailed me the weekend after the election and she said, ‘Do you want to do this?’ I said yes, in a heartbeat.
I’m most concerned about all of the stuff that Trump’s going to repeal, like Obamacare. I’m in the medical field and all of us, all the doctors I work with, they’re all against the repeal-and-replace.
I just want my voice to be heard—all of our voices here.
Sarah Huff, 21, grew up in Centennial, Colorado. She recently graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and came to D.C. to march with her mother, who still lives in Centennial.
I came to Washington for a lot of reasons. The election was a little scary, and eye-opening. I’m a huge advocate of a woman’s right to choose and the right to have birth control. I just think our government shouldn’t have a say in what we do with our bodies, so I think it was important to be here.
I decided to come shortly after the election, as soon as we heard about the march. I think the outcome we want is just to have our voices heard—and hopefully it can make some impact legislatively within the [Congress]. I don’t know if it’s possible to get through to our president. But if we can, that would be great.
Mare Trevathan, 46, is a Longmont, Colorado resident who works as an audiobook narrator. She flew to D.C. by herself, meeting up with friends from around the country in the capital city.
The thing that really punches me in the gut is the rise of hate speech and hate crimes post-election. I was down at the Capitol when I first arrived in town yesterday, I went to the museum, to, you know, take a look around and there was a white supremacy group that was marching at 15th and Pennsylvania, and I find that deeply disturbing [her voice cracks]. I am white, but I find that deeply disturbing.
The march is certainly not the only thing I’m doing [but] I wanted to put my energies and body where it would be the most impactful, and that felt like here in Washington D.C.
I feel like our country continues to be more divided and the categories of division are getting smaller and smaller, by which I mean it’s not just Republican versus Democrat. Now I see the divisions becoming more minute, that people are separating themselves from one another and really just don’t see themselves based on creed and skin color and education levels. I’m very worried about what that means when we have politicians who will reinforce those divisions rather than to try and bridge them.
I have a relative — we share the same last name — who crept up on Facebook yesterday in response to my post that I was here in Washington D.C. to demonstrate. He said, ‘He’s going to be our president for the next four years, at least, just deal with it.’ And I thought, you know, I don’t care what your political leaning is: ‘Just deal with it’ is not the American way if you have a government that you don’t feel represents you. So I’m here for peaceful protests. I’m not here to stand off against the police, I’m not here to shout evil things about Trump, I’m here to peacefully, legally, show that my government, in its current configuration, does not represent me.”
Kate Penning’s reasons for flying from Colorado to march on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration were all personal. At 29, reproductive healthcare is her most pressing health concern. She says Obamacare was an important, positive change for her: now she doesn’t have to worry about paying for routine exams and birth control. Soon to be engaged, she hopes to have children in the next few years, and, since the election, is concerned about the likelihood she’ll have access to paid maternity leave. Actually, she’s concerned about pay, period. As a young woman architect, she says suspects she has been paid less than her male peers. That’s why she left her last firm.
I came out here with my boyfriend’s mother, boyfriend’s sister-in-law, one of my best girlfriends, and another friend from Denver. It’s a girls’ weekend, a girls’ empowerment weekend.
There’s this inherent sexism that men don’t even realize is there. They’ll just say things and it’s like, ‘Yeah, you can’t just say that.’ I don’t think they even know that what they’re saying is inappropriate or that it’s laden with sexual connotations. It’s just so inherent, or it’s how they were brought up or how they believe.
So now what we need is to be more aware of it and call people out on it. It’s about being confident in ourselves as women to say ‘No, you can’t treat me that way.’ This march is for all of those things.
It means so much more for us to be here, instead of Denver, for how impassioned we are over the election, how much this has truly touched our lives. We wanted to be a part of the history here in D.C. and be a part of a really big statement. Washington D.C. felt like more of an impact than maybe going in Denver.
This march is much bigger than the inauguration. I feel like that’s impossible to ignore and that’s a huge statement in itself. This only engenders further marches, maybe, further people standing up. I know for my self, I realized after coming here that, you know what, I want to be more involved in women’s groups in Fort Collins. So I’ve been reaching out to a bunch of women’s groups and trying to find out which one fits me best after this happened. I realized that’s something that empowers me and is a passion of mine. The election only made that more apparent, that I need that in my life.”
Elizabeth Olson, 46, is a psychologist from Longmont, Colorado and mother of 10-year-old Levi. She flew into D.C. with her son and husband and to march on Washington.
My son and I were watching the election night. He was watching pretty much every single state and together we were devastated. He was awake the whole night. He had a horrible stomachache. He didn’t want to get out of the shower. He was pretty traumatized, I think, by the whole thing—even though he’s 10.
That week he wrote a letter to Trump asking him to protect the planet and to think about the future for kids.
What I said to him was, ‘There’s a march on Washington, would you like to go?’ And he said yes, he would, that it was really important, and he wants to go and resist Trump.
That’s what he wants to do. And he wants to support women’s rights and gay and lesbian and bisexual and trans and questioning. He’s concerned about the climate and all of these things are really important to him, as well as to me. It’s really his choice, and he says he wants to do it. So I’m supporting him in that choice.
I’m feeling excited, hopeful. It feels good to be taking an action like this, to be joining together with other women and other families, to have some way of creating a feeling of hope and energy towards a positive future in the midst of something that feels so disturbing, and just really sad.
Photo of Lori Brazill by Haley Gray. Photo of Mare Trevathan courtesy of Trevathan. Photo of Elizabeth and Levi Olson courtesy of Elizabeth Olson.