PORTLAND, Maine — Wanting to channel her “sense of fear and trepidation” about the nation’s future in a positive way, Portland writer Genevieve Morgan tapped herself to organize Mainers’ participation and transportation to the Women’s March on Washington, scheduled for the day after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
“The age of the cynic is over. The age of action has begun,” Morgan said Wednesday night as 50 women joined her in a former school classroom to plan their protest, and how to get there. Some 3,000 Mainers, most of them female, will stream to the nation’s capital by bus, carpool and in some cases plane.
“Take a look around you,” Morgan said, addressing the cross-section of Southern Maine’s women. “This is the face of democracy.”
Despite the event’s timing, Morgan, 50, said that “this isn’t an anti-Trump march. It’s about the principles that many, many people across the country think are being threatened.”
Morgan said she worries about what the Trump administration will mean for women, for immigration and for the environment. She has volunteered countless hours to prepare for the march, which is expected to be massive and which sprang from a Hawaiian woman’s Facebook post shortly after the election.
“This is truly a populist, grassroots from the bottom up effort,” said Morgan, the granddaughter of Maine politician Marion Fuller Brown, who led the charge to ban off-premises billboards from state roads. “Many people in the state have never done anything like this before.”
A New York native, Morgan has marched on Washington before but has never been involved in such large-scale organizing.
Working long days, the Bowdoin College grad and some 60 other volunteers have set up transportation in 10 hubs — from Caribou to Biddeford — to ferry Mainers to D.C. Buses leave at 10 p.m. on Jan. 20 and arrive in D.C. at dawn the next day. Morgan, the Maine chapter head, plans to march with her husband and two sons.
Members of Portland’s Muslim and LGBTQ communities and pockets of students at the University of Southern Maine, feeling threatened under the unpredictable regime change, are stepping aboard.
U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree is expected to join the Maine March and Hillary Clinton, who is attending the inauguration, will likely make an appearance.
For Mary-Beth Taylor of Poland, marching on the National Mall with family members is one way to take a stand. The 62-year-old, who is selling solidarity ribbons commemorating the Maine March, will make the trek because she worries the country is backsliding.
Trump has boasted of grabbing women by “the pussy” and getting away with such unwanted sexual advances because of his celebrity. And he has vowed to cut off Planned Parenthood’s federal funding and to end Obamacare. That behavior and those policy changes are unacceptable to Taylor, who voted for Clinton and booked a hotel room in D.C. expecting to celebrate the inauguration of the first female president.
“Most of us have been discriminated against at one point. We have worked for bosses that would grope us. We are not going to let this slide,” Taylor said. “By marching there is a feeling that I am not alone. There is so much support.”
Morgan agrees, saying that participating in the Women’s March “feels really important. 2017 is the year to stand for something … It doesn’t feel like an end, but the starting shot of something.”
For more information on the Maine March visit mainemarch.com.