Thousands of people in Northeast Florida and millions the around the country are joining marches Saturday in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington to raise awareness of women’s rights they fear could be threatened by Donald Trump’s presidency.
Three marches were organized in the area – a memorial and march in downtown Jacksonville, a march in St. Augustine and a march in Amelia Island.
“Some of the rhetoric in the last election has some people concerned that we're going to take a step backwards and we will not have it,” said Billee Bussard who marched in Jacksonville.
Nationwide, more than 600 sister marches were organized around the country with some of the biggest expected in New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. The key focus of the day is the Women's March on Washington, which organizers say could attract a quarter of a million participants.
The march began with a Facebook call after the November election result and grew into what could be one of the larger political demonstrations ever seen in the U.S. capital.
“I think it may be a way of saying we don't want to lose a minute," said Christie Rasche who marched in Jacksonville. "We want to get started right now, now that there is somebody new in office whose views are not consistent with ours. We need to move now.”
The memorial and march in Jacksonville started at 10 a.m. at the grave of Mary A. Nolan in the Evergreen Cemetery. Nolan was a suffragette from Jacksonville who played a pivotal role in the passage of the 19th Amendment.
At 1 p.m. groups met at the Jacksonville landing to sign petitions, followed by a march to the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.
The Amelia Island Solidarity March is a sister march the Women’s March on Washington. The march started at Central Park in Fernandina Beach at 10 a.m., with various guest speakers appearing after the march.
The St. Augustine Unity in the Community rally started at 1 p.m. at the Bridge of Lions.
Women and men in cities around the world, including in Sydney, Berlin, London, Paris and Cape Town, South Africa are also marching for women's rights.
“It's very important for women, and men who support women, support women's rights and recognize the inequities (that) still exist in our society that needs to be overcome together,” Rasche said.