Milwaukeeans Make Plans for Women’s March in D.C.

MilMag will cover trip to Washington this week

While Donald Trump is being inaugurated as the 45th president this Friday, Milwaukee-area women, and a few men, will head to Washington D.C. for Saturday’s women’s march. This includes a group of about 30 who have chartered a bus to take them to the nation’s capital, a trip being organized by digital strategist Megan Holbrook and Barbara Velez, former publisher of Metro Parent Magazine. Holbrook, who wrote an op-ed in the January 13 edition of the Journal Sentinel about why she and others are marching, is also the founder of liberal activism group The Next Four Years – Milwaukee. “There is so much to protest,” she said at a planning meeting  for this bus trip in December, while other attendees discussed why they were going to make the trip. The mission statement for the national organizing group paralleled sentiments expressed by the Milwaukeeans that day: “We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.”

It’s been widely reported that roughly 200,000 people could attend Saturday’s march, which isn’t without its own struggles – namely how to represent issues that affect people of color, and where exactly men fit in all this. As the Associated Press reports, a 5,000-strong women’s march over 100 years ago – a “suffrage parade” – had struggles of its own, and left some of its marchers with physical injuries.  

The national march, which started as an idea by Hawaiian grandmother Teresa Snook, has also raised nearly $2 million in funding to cover security and other march-related costs. According to the national women’s march website, there are four Wisconsin marches scheduled to happen in conjunction with the march in Washington, including in Madison, where Pfister artist-in-residence Pamela Anderson will be helping organize the events of the day. The national group reports there are 386 “sister” marches happening across the country that day,  and over 1,000 people have said on the Wisconsin page that they’ll attend the Washington march. 

Leaving early Friday morning, the Milwaukee bus group plans to arrive in Washington that evening, bringing with them a banner and posters – one of which was designed by noted Milwaukee artist Niki Johnson and Christian Westphal. The poster, which was commissioned by The Next Four Years, is framed at the top and bottom with the words “Tear Us Down” and “We Rise,” with a woman’s torso sandwiched in between. Within the torso is the likeness of the U.S. Capitol building, its peak sprouting from the crotch; it’s based on Johnson’s work “Hills & Valleys.”

While Velez says the start times for the march are “fluid,” the national march is currently scheduled to kick off around 1 p.m. I’ll be covering it by riding with this Milwaukee group, whose members include Sojourner Family Peace Center’s Carmen Pitre. Look for more coverage on from now through Saturday, including information on who else is heading to Washington. And stay up-to-date by following the magazine’s Twitter and Facebook pages. I’ll also be tweeting happenings at the march from my own account, so be sure to follow along there. 

Back at the December planning meeting, which was held at Brenner Brewing Company, local artist and MIAD professor Jill Sebastian declared, “This protest is only the beginning.” 



Claire Hanan worked at the magazine as an editor from 2012-2017. She edited the Culture section and wrote stories about all sorts of topics, including the arts, fashion, politics and more. In 2016, she was a finalist for best profile writing at the City and Regional Magazine Awards for her story "In A Flash." In 2014, she won the the Milwaukee Press gold award for best public service story for editing "Handle With Care," a service package about aging in Milwaukee. Before all this, she attended the University of Missouri's School of Journalism and New York University's Summer Publishing Institute.