KENNETT SQUARE >> More than 400 people from the Kennett area were among the hundreds of thousands of people who participated in the Women’s March on Washington Saturday.
“Nobody expected the crowds to be that big,” said Bruce Koepcke, 65 of East Marlborough Township. “I saw families, grannies with walkers, Muslims, and people of every color in the rainbow, singing songs.”
The march was initiated to send a message to the Trump administration that women’s rights are human rights. The Philadelphia march was one of many sister marches to the National Women’s March on Washington, D.C. Other marches took place in cities across the United States, as well as other countries around the world.
“I felt compelled to go, because I have a lot of fear of what (the Trump) administration will mean for anybody on the edge, the forgotten, the working poor, women’s rights and affordable health care,” said Carol Catanese, 65, of Kennett. “There were so many people there, it was unbelievable.”
A large group of students from Kennett High School also took the trip. Four buses departed Kennett Square Saturday morning, sponsored by Kennett Area Democrats, and cost was $50 per person, or whatever people could afford.
Sally Braffman of Kennett Square said it was not an anti-Trump rally.
“This march was an affirmation of what’s important,” she said. “It was about women’s rights, and any rights that Trump will take away. But this was really a call to action, a time to figure out what we need to do next. It was successful and it went beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.”
Victoria Wiedwald, 71, of Kennett also took the trip, and she compared it to the Civil Rights marches that took place in the 1960s.
“I’ve been an activist going back to the ‘60s, and I can tell you this trip was one of the top 25 things I have ever done in my entire life,” Wiedwald said. “I am so energized by it, and this is the largest crowd I have ever been in. There was never one moment that I felt anything bye completely safe. There were people of all colors, all ages. It was diversity at its best.”
Even with the hundreds of thousands in attendance and long lines in everything from Metro stations to food trucks to port-a-potties, the overall mood remained cordial with crowds thanking service men and women and police for their service and with many being polite to each other, saying, ‘excuse me’ as they walked through snaking lines.
“It was a total sea of humanity, going all the way to the Washington Monument,” Koepcke said. “It was a beautiful experience. Police were really good about it. I’m just barely getting the feeling back on my feet, after having been on my feet for eight hours straight. It was so packed you couldn’t even move.”
Those who took the bus trip said they were pleased at how peaceful the protest was, and the message it sent.
“This is not the end, this is the beginning” Koepcke said. “This was a way for people to express their concerns to the new administration. If they start registering Muslims, they will hear from these people again. I’m not sure this is a good time to be a Congressman.”
Said Catanese: “Now we need to put all the energy that was put into the marching and put pressure on our elected officials.”
The Women’s March on Washington was started by a woman in her 60 who lives in Hawaii, who composed a Facebook post expressing her frustration and wondered if women could march on Washington during Inauguration Day. She created an event page for the march, which was shared on the popular Facebook group Pantsuit Nation. Within less than 24 hours, 10,000 people had confirmed their attendance, according to a report in The Washington Post.